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Lord to step out of illness, raths to roll

Bhubaneswar, June 27: The Jagannath temple administration has geared up to ensure that the naba jauban darshan of the divine Trinity — Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra — passes off peacefully tomorrow.

The occasion, when the deities recover from their 14-days of sickness to give darshan to devotees, marks the build up to their world famous rath yatra, scheduled to begin from June 29.

The deities are taken sick after being bathed with nearly 108 pots of water on the snana purnima.

They remain confined to the sanctum sanctorum and devotees are refused darshan during this time.

After being treated by the sevayats (the servitors) for 14 days, the gods and goddess become fit enough to give darshan to the devotees.

In order to ensure that daitapatis and servitors, who are aggrieved with the temple administration on the issue of barring the devotees from climbing the chariots, co-operate with the administration, a meeting was held with them this evening.

Special officer appointed for the rath yatra, Suresh Mohapatra led the talks from the government side.

It was decided that only 44 gong-beaters or ghantua sevayats will be allowed onto the chariots.

Last year, 84 of them were present on the chariots during the rath yatra.

However, the contentious issue on how many daitapatis and servitors would be allowed to climb the chariots on rath yatra day was still being discussed.

Daitapati Niyog president Rama Krushna Das Mohapatra said: “We will provide all co-operation to the state administration to ensure that the rath yatra passes off peacefully. We will also cooperate with the temple administration to make it certain that all rituals are observed as per the time table.”

According to the programme, the rituals of the Lord will begin from 4am tomorrow.

Puri police chief Anup Sahu said: “Nearly 40 platoons will be deployed for tomorrow’s event. We had organised a mock rally for Sunday’s rath yatra.”

In yet another development, Orissa High Court today set a 14-day deadline for the state government to submit its Action Taken Report (ATR) on the report of Justice P.K. Mohanty Commission report submitted more than four years ago.

The Mohanty commission was appointed to analyse the sequence of events and circumstances leading to a stampede at the Jagannath temple in which four persons were killed on November 4, 2006.

While hearing a PIL, the court had issued the direction. Though the commission appointed on November 22, 2006, had submitted its final report on September 15, 2009, the government has been silent about it, the petitioner said.