Lord Jagannath Won't Forgive Us If We Allow Rath Yatra This Year: SC

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PURI: "Lord Jagannath won't forgive us if we allow this year's Rath Yatra to go on, as such a huge gathering can't take place during the pandemic," the Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad Arvind Bobde observed on Thursday staying this year's yatra which was scheduled to start from June 23.

The Puri Jagannath Rathyatra is an annual event that involves pulling of the chariot that has the idols of Lord Krishna, his brother Balram and sister Subhadra. All the temples, including the Shree Jagannath temple in Puri, are closed across the state for devotees since March 22 in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A bench of Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices Dineesh Maheshwari and A S Bopanna said that in the interest of public health and safety of citizens, this year's Rath Yatra at Puri in Odisha can't be allowed.

The bench also told Odisha government not to allow the yatra or pilgrimage procession and related activities anywhere in the state to avoid spread of coronavirus.

“In the interest of public health and safety of citizens, we restrain the state from holding the Rath Yatra and associated activities. We direct that there shall be no Rath Yatra and associated activities this year”, the bench ordered.

The top court’s order came on a PIL filed by Odisha based NGO, Vikas Parishad seeking cancellation or postponement of this year’s Rath Yatra, which continues for 10 to 12 days and is attended by millions of devotees from across the world.

Earlier, twelve temples in Balasore district, six in Mayurbhanj, five in Sambalpur, two each in Kandhamal, Bolangir and Gajapati had announced that they will not hold the Rath Yatra outside the temple premises.

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