Can Puri Jaggannath Swamy's annual Rath Yatra be stopped in the name of Corona? This is the question upper most in the minds of the seer and the faithful in Odisha. The Annual Rath Yatra, which draws lakhs of people from across the country is a landmark event in the state.
But, the government has decided not to hold the event his year in view of the pandemic. Armed with court orders, the government has moved in to cancel the event for this year. However, this is drawing the ire of the common man in the state. Already Gajapathi Raja of Puri has asked the government not to completely stall the event. Now, vitrioli and powerful Sankaracharya of Puri - Nishchalananda Saraswati too joined the fray. He termed the ban as an assault on the time-tested temple traditions of Puri Jagannath. He also directly attacked the Chief Minister saying this as an affront to the Hindu religion. Even BJP leader Sambit Patra too had approached the court seeking permission to hold the Rath Yatra without congregation.
Now, all this has put the Odisha government, ledy by Naveen Patnaik, in a fix. He can neither afford to have the Yatra, not can hope to cancel it given the public anger building up in the state. Let's wait and see how things unfold in the days to come.