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Ramakanta Biswas

Bhubaneswar: After cancellation of famous Rukuna Rath Yatra, clouds of uncertainty now loom over the Sithal Sasthi Yatra of Lord Lingaraj amid 4th stage of nationwide lockdown imposed in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic. The festival which celebrates the marriage of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati is scheduled for May 27 this year.

The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) has reportedly denied permission to conduct the festival this year in view of ongoing coronavirus lockdown.

According to sources, the four nijogs (servitor bodies) of Lingaraj temple held a meeting with the deputy commissioner of BMC, Abanikanta Patnaik today. However, the civic authorities have reportedly refused to give permission to organise the festival at this juncture.

Meanwhile, resentment is brewing among the servitors over the issue who have been pursuing the matter with strong conviction that the age old tradition of the Lord should be preserved at all costs.

Following the latest development, the servitors have decided to meet the BMC authorities and Twin City Police Commissioner in this regard.

Secretary of Badu Nijog, Kamalakanta Badu said, “ We held discussion as to how the age-old tradition of Lord Lingaraj can be preserved. Discussion was held as to how the rituals can be conducted with involvement of lesser number of people. We have decided to meet the BMC commissioner for further discussion. If needed, we will hold discussion with police commissioner to ensure that the tradition of marriage of Lord Lingaraj can been performed.”

Speaking about the meeting, BMC deputy commissioner Abanikanta Patnaik said, “A concrete decision on the festival can only be taken after a discussion with the servitors, BMC and police authorities. If granted permission, Lord Lingaraj will be taken out in palanquin. There will not be any public gathering and only a few servitors will take out the procession and solemnise the marriage of the Lord."

(Edited by Suryakant Jena)



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