ISKCON Withdraws Plan To Hold Rath Yatra On Different Date Contrary To Srimandir customs

Bhubaneswar: After massive protests and an FIR, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) on Monday dissociated from the ongoing controversy surrounding the conduct of Rath Yatra by its Ludhiana branch on a different date as opposed to the Srimandir customs.

Distancing itself from the statements of one its workers, ISKCON in a statement clarified that, “Unwarranted statements on Rath Yatra are incorrect as ISKCON has highest regard and respect for the traditional practices for Rath Yatra and the sevayats in Puri Jagannath Temple. The statements that Rath Yatra will be observed in November do not represent the views of ISKCON in any manner.”

Earlier, ISKCON’s Ludhiana Unit’s had announced plans to observe Rath Yatra on a different date (November 17). However, as per the practice followed in Puri Srimandir, the festival is usually observed on the second day of ‘sukla pakshya’ in the month of ‘Asadha.’

The decision had sparked off resentment with two outfits- Sri Jagannath Sena and Sachetan Nagarika Manch lodging FIR against ISKCON authorities and workers for hurting religious sentiments of millions of Jagannath devotees.

In Rourkela too, a social outfit ‘Lead Rourkela’ has also lodged an FIR in the Chhend Police Station objecting one ISKCON worker Amit Garg’s derogatory statement on Puri Rath Yatra.

Several social and religious outfits in Odisha alleged that organizations like ISKCON are hurting Jagannath culture by conducting the rituals on separate dates in Punjab and other parts of the world.

“Rath Yatra in Ludhiana will be held on the same day it is observed in Puri,” said Vanamali Das, Regional Secretary, ISKCON Bhubaneswar.

Das further stated that efforts will be initiated to ensure that Rath Yatra will be held across India and other parts of the world on the same day the annual festival is observed in Puri.