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Call to stop rath yatra

Bhubaneswar, Dec. 20: Authorities of Sri Jagannath Temple have asked the Centre to prohibit the “untimely” rath yatra to be organised by Iskcon devotees at New Delhi tomorrow.

The authority was forced to act following agitation and protest rally taken out by the temple priests over the issue today in Bhubaneswar. Some 100-odd priests, who also staged a dharna in front of the temple demanding a ban on the entry of “converted” Hindus into the 12th century temple, attended the rally.

Talking to The Telegraph, Harekrishna Mahasuar, the general-secretary of Sri Jagannath Sevayat Sammilanee said they would oppose all the programmes of Iskcon if the Centre and the state governments did not stop tomorrow’s yatra and such programmes in the future.

“The government would be responsible for any law and order problem over this issue,” he warned.

“Almost all the Jagannath temples in India take out the yatra in June and July. But Iskcon choses to organise it at Ludhiana on October 6 and Chandigarh on December 1,” fumed Mahasuar.

On December 14, too, the Puri servitors had taken out a rally to protest over “untimely” yatras and had submitted a memorandum to the Orissa government and the temple administration regarding it.

Chief administrator of the temple, Suresh Chandra Mohapatra conceded that he had written a letter to the New Delhi today requesting them to prevent the proposed yatra tomorrow. According to temple rituals, a rath yatra is held on the second day of the fortnight of Ashadha (June-July) every year.

The priests were also sore over what they saw as attempts by “converted” Hindus to enter the temple “under the cover of Iskcon”. “Only Hindus by birth should be allowed,” said the Mahasuar.

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