NEW DELHI: An Odia Muslim has moved
the Supreme Court
with a fervent prayer — allow the world-famous Rath Yatra at
this year as discontinuance of the religious tradition would ritually mandate its stall-ing for next 12 years.
in Nayagarh district of Odisha, Aftab Hossen sought modification of the SC’s June 18 order banning not only the Rath Yatra but also all religious and secular rituals associated with it. “There is anger all over Odisha. People are ready to self-abstain from the yatra if it can be conducted by sevayats for the purpose of continuity in observance of the Jagannath culture and rituals associated with the religious tradition,” he said.
In the long tradition of noted Muslim devotees of Jagannath, most noted being 17th century poet Salabega, Hossen through advocates P K Mohapatra and Harprasad Sahu said that if for any reason there is a break in the annual Rath Yatra, “the same cannot be performed for next 12 years. So restraining the Rath Yatra this year would mean stopping it for the next 12 years, which will seriously harm Jagannath culture.”
uoting the Puranas, Gita and citing traditions followed since time immemorial on Rath Yatra and Jagannath temple, which is one of the four most important pilgrimages for Hindus, Hossen said the Odisha government, which acquiesced to the stalling of the yatra because of pandemic, had allowed construction work of the three chariots for Balabhadra, Jagannath and Subhadra.
If the SC passed the order stalling the yatra on a PIL filed by Bhubaneswar-based
NGO Odisha Vikas Prashad
, another NGO Jagannath Sanskritu Jana Jagarana Manch moved the SC through advocate H N Rath giving details of 1,304 Covid-free persons available with the temple who could be asked to conduct the yatra without involving devotees. Many other individuals and NGOs have also moved the SC seeking permission for the yatra.