Baripada: Hundreds of people belonging to various social and cultural organisations today took out a rally in Baripada town demanding permission for conduct of Ratha Yatra at Haribaldev Jew temple, which is considered as Dwitiya Sreekhetra.
People irrespective of age, caste and creed took part in the procession which began from the main shrine and culminated at Mausi Maa temple. People including sevayats and local intellectuals holding placards and banners took out the procession by beating gongs and blowing conchs on the stretch connecting the main shrine to Mausi maa temple.
The protesters demanded reopening of temple for the smooth conduct of Ratha Yatra by forming human chain in strict adherence to Covid protocols.
The erstwhile king of Mayurbhanj Praveen Chandra Bhanj Deo, who was also a part of the rally, reacted in favour of the Ratha Yata in the town which had been a tradition for the local residents since 1575.
The special feature of the Baripada Ratha Yatra festival is that women pull the chariot of Devi Subhadra.
The Odisha government recently banned Ratha Yatra festival at any other places of the State except Puri Dham.
The government stricture drew ire of Baripada residents who demanded the festival be conducted amid Covid guidelines like in Puri.
The construction of Chariots in the town was going on in full swing prior to the government announcement. However, it has been stopped now due to government restrictions, reports said. Much to the disappointment of devotees, the government has imposed a ban on the grand festival at any other shrines across the State.
The Odisha government on June 10 announced that Ratha Yatra will be conducted in Puri only without the participation of devotees and strict adherence to Covid guidelines imposed by the Supreme Court last year.
The Rath Yatra-related rituals can be conducted only on the temple premises with a handful of servitors and temple officials in places other than Puri. Chariots would not be allowed to be pulled up, Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) PK Jena had announced earlier.