Vikash Sharma

Bhubaneswar: Amidst the ongoing tug of war, Odisha on Monday wrote to Centre to withdraw the National Monuments Authority’s (NMA) heritage bylaws for two more temples in the State.

In a letter to Raghvendra Singh, Ministry of Culture Secretary, Odisha Chief Secretary Suresh Mohapatra urged the former to withdraw the bylaws issued by NMA for Ananta Basudev and Brahmeswar temples of Ekamra Kshetra, Bhubaneswar.

The letter came barely days after Odisha Chief Minister urged the Centre to withdraw the heritage bylaws for both the temples in Bhubaneswar.

Though NMA had also issued heritage bylaws for Puri Jagannath temple, it was withdrawn following serious discontentment among sevayats, devotees and people’s representatives as it was done without any consultations with any stakeholders.

However, draft notification relating to Ekamra Kshetra temples are still in force causing distress to the sevayat community, people at large and devotees, wrote Mohapatra in his letter.

“There are serious apprehensions that the non-withdrawal of the bylaws will lead to widespread agitation and disturb the day to day religious rituals in temples. This kind of atmosphere in temples is bound to hurt the religious sentiments of lakhs of devotees. The largest congregation of devotees at Ekamra Kshetra will happen on March 11 on the occasion of Maha Shiv Ratri festival,” the letter read.

The State government has urged Centre to ensure that there is a peaceful atmosphere and full cooperation of sevayats for conducting this annual Maha Shivratri festival in which lakhs of devotees congregate from all over the State.

(Edited By Pradeep Singh)