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State May Favor Jatra

Respecting to the public sentiment, Odisha Government Sunday night said it will take favorable action as legally permissible in the Supreme Court when it take up the application to modify the June 18 order that stayed Ratha Jatra in Puri and across Odisha.

“The State Government will take favourable action as legally permissible on the request of the Gajapati Maharaj when the writ petition W.P.(C) No. 571 of 2020 is taken up for hearing before the Hon’ble Supreme Court,” a statement issued by the Law Department said.

However, several applications have been filed in the Apex Court where petitioners have prayed the court to allow a crowd less Ratha Jatra in Puri.

The petitioners have also viewed that permission may be granted for holding the Rath Yatra on 23rd June, 2020 and the three chariots may be pulled by the sevayats and police officials present in the district of Puri by adhering to the social distancing norms.

“It may be noted that the stand of the State Government in the hearing before Hon’ble Supreme Court on 18.06.2020 was primarily related to thousands of Ratha Jatras taking place all over the State,” the statement said while clarifying that the state had no intention to stay the festival in Puri.  

The State Government said that Ratha Jatra involve lakhs of people, and organized almost in every Gram Panchayat of the state. “More than 5 lakh people of Odisha have returned back to the state since May. Most of them are likely to complete their quarantine period by the end of June,” the State Government said.

This apart, the onset of monsoon has made the Covid pandemic likely to peak in the State in June & July, the state said adding that the pandemic has killed lakhs of people across the globe and so far Odisha has handled the pandemic in an efficient manner with lowest mortality rates in the Country.

Any Congregation during the probable peaking period can lead to loss of lives and serious public health hazard, the state government clarified that the Apex Court gave the order keeping in view the interest of public health and safety of citizens who are also devotees.

The State Government said, meanwhile, the Gajapati Maharaja of Puri who is also the Chairman of the Shree Jagannath Temple Management Committee, has written a letter dated 20th June, 2020 to the State Government, inter alia requesting that the Rath Jatra in Puri may be held without any congregation of general public and with the State Government taking appropriate steps to prevent spread of COVID-19. 


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