Vikash Sharma

Bhubaneswar: Cutting across party lines, leaders of several political parties on Friday condemned the conduct of untimely Rath Yatra by International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) in Mumbai. Moreover, a police complaint was also filed today by the Sachetan Nagarika Mancha at Puri Singhadwar Police Station against organisers.

Congress MLA Sura Routray alleged that how can anybody be allowed to construct a chariot and organise such festival. “The conduct of untimely Rath Yatra is a mere drama and both the State government and Centre should take stern measures to stop conduct of such Rath Yatra in an arbitrary manner.”

Echoing similar views, BJP Spokesperson Golak Mohapatra also demanded action against the organisers.

“We will place a demand before the Odisha government to discuss with the organisers of Rath Yatra and ensure that festivals associated with Lord Jagannath is held as per the tradition,” said Mohapatra.

Condemning the conduct of Rath Yatra by ISKCON on a different date, senior BJD leader Amar Satpathy said, “It is an intentional move by ISKCON to tarnish the Jagannath culture.”

Satpathy further stated that the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) should lodge a criminal case as it is a clear violation of our tradition and has hurt the sentiments of people.

It is pertinent to mention here that the conduct of Rath Yatra by ISKCON on the occasion of ‘Basant Panchami’ yesterday in Mumbai had triggered a row with Puri Srimandir authorities and culture experts criticising the move.

The idols of deities- Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra were taken out in a procession on a single chariot from Shivaji Park in Mumbai yesterday. The devotees pulled the chariot on prominent routes covering Shiv Sena Bhavan, Portuguese Church, Gokhale Road, Prabhadevi and the yatra culminated at Shivaji Park.

ISKCON has been organising the Rath Yatra on occasions other than what is held auspicious by the Puri Srimandir which has been condemned by all in Odisha.