An Odisha-based rights organisation has moved the Supreme Court seeking a stay on the possible celebration of the annual Rath Yatra at Puri’s Jagannath Temple on June 23.
Odisha Vikas Parishad, through Advocate Ranjeeta Rohatgi, has informed the Court that all the rituals leading up to the Rath Yatra such as ‘Akshay Trutiya’ and ‘Snana Purnima’ have been allowed to be performed by the Odisha state government. Thus, the petitioner apprehends that there is a possibility that the Rath Yatra, which draws in lakhs of people, will also be allowed to take place.
The plea urged that if such an arrangement is repeated this year, then the results would be “catastrophic.”
“A religious congregation of such nature which has been specifically prohibited by the State Government vide its guidelines dated 01.06.2020 & 07.06.2020 and the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India vide its guideline dated 30.05.2020, if allowed, will lead to catastrophic results and it will be very difficult on the part of the authorities to control the spread of virus thereafter.”
Giving the example of the Tablighi Jamaat, the plea states that religious congregations can cause a spurt in COVID-19 cases.
“Thus, in order to avoid any similar instances of outbreak of COVID-19 cases, a religious gathering in the nature of Rath Yatra festival ought to be avoided.”
Read the petition here: