The decision of the Odisha Government to allow Rath Yatra only in Puri sans devotees in view of the second wave of the Covid-19 has not gone down well with the servitors of the Baripada Jagannath temple and the residents here.
The servitors and the people of Baripada, which is known as second Srikhetra, staged a novel protest against the decision by lightening lamps in front of the temple on Saturday night.
They have urged the State government to allow the celebration of annual 'Rath Yatra' in Baripada too sans devotees like Puri.
"Baripada is famous as the second Srikhetra and the annual Rath Yatra has been celebrated here for long 450 years. In this context, it is quiet unfortunate that the government is not allowing the festival to be celebrated here," rued Lord Jagannath's Pujapanda Arun Kumar Das.
"Covid-19 infection is on a decline in the State now. In view of the current situation, Government shouldn't take any decision hastily. The State administration should reconsider their decision and allow the celebration of Rath Yatra in Baripada without the participation of any devotees," said Das.
The servitors have also assured to observe Rath Yatra amid Covid-19 norms.
"Rath Yatra of the Trinity of Haribaldev Jew Temple in the town is famous across the globe. It has never been stopped in the past despite several odds. The pandemic is here to stay for a long time. It is not justified to stop the festival of the Lord for the pandemic. The administration should allow the servitors to continue with the rituals of the festival amid Covid-19 norms," said Goddess Subhadra's Pujapanda Pradip Kumar Mishra.
(Edited by Rashmi Ranjan Mohanty)