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Suryakant Jena

News Highlights

  • Odisha government has strictly warned that there shall be no darshan by public/devotee during the festivals

Amid a political storm in Odisha over the government-enforced curbs on the height of idols during the ensuing festive season, the Orissa High Court’s door was knocked on Tuesday for relief.

One of the oldest Puja organizers in Cuttack, the Balubazaar Puja Committee filed a petition in the State's top court seeking judicial intervention in permitting usual celebrations during the upcoming festivals, especially Durga Puja, with Covid guidelines in place.

In its pray, the Puja committee has urged the Court to direct the Cuttack district administration and the State government to permit the continuation of the 500-year-old tradition at the Durga Puja mandap.

The Balubazaar Puja Committee has made the Odisha Chief Secretary and the Special Relief Commissioner respondents in the petition.

The move comes a day after the State BJP called a 12-hour shutdown in Cuttack to protest the Odisha government's decision on not allowing any relaxations in the guidelines issued for the conduct of Puja in mandaps/ pandals during the festive season.

On September 10, SRC PK Jena had ruled out the possibility of extending any relaxations in the existing guidelines.

The Odisha government in its August 9 advisory laid out some important guidelines to be strictly followed during celebration of festivals this season with adherence to Covid pandemic norms.

Pujas shall be conducted in indoor-like conditions only for observance of rituals without public participation, pomp and grandeur. Besides, Puja pandals/mandaps shall be covered on three sides and the 4th side shall also be covered in a way not to allow any public view of the idols. There shall be no darshan by public/devotee and the size of the idol should be less than 4 feet, the guidelines stated.

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