Bhubaneswar: Untimely Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath and his siblings organised by International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) on the occasion of Basant Panchami on Thursday at Shivaji Park in Mumbai has sparked a major controversy.
The incident has come under criticism from the followers of Jagannath cult and politicians across parties here.
While many have labelled the organisers as businessmen doing business in the name of Lord Jagannath, some have even gone to the extent of demanding institution of criminal proceedings against them.
“ISKCON guys are doing business in the name of Lord Jagannath. In the name of Rath Yatra, they sell books, necklaces, bhog, etc. We strongly oppose this. Even a meeting in this connection was held at Bhubaneswar in which ISKCON’s chief from Delhi had participated wherein it was agreed that Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath can’t be held on any other day other than Ashadha Shukla Paksha Dwitiya (second day in the bright fortnight of Ashadha month. However, the ISKCON people were told that they can hold a ‘Mahotsav’ and can move around the Lord but they can’t name it as Rath Yatra. I will request the State government to frame a law and take strong action against them. We will raise this matter in the next managing committee meeting and Supreme Court. We will request Gajapati Maharaja and the Chief Administrator to curb such acts,” said Rama Das Mahapatra, Member of the Shree Jagannath Temple Managing Committee, Puri.
“This is a condemnable act by ISKCON. They have done this despite being told not to have untimely Rath Yatra. I request the State government to take strong action them,” said Siddhanath Guru, a servitor of Lord Jagannath.
“A meeting Gajapati Maharaj in the chair was held in this connection with the ISKCON members in which they were told not to hold untimely Rath Yatra. They had also agreed. Surely action will be taken against them,” said Jitendra Kumar Sahoo, Niti Administrator, Shree Jagannath Temple.
“I feel it’s being done intentionally by ISKCON. Jagannath culture, Jagannath temple’s rituals are conducted as per tradition as mentioned in the ‘madala panji’. ISKCON is doing this deliberately to destroy Jagannath culture. I feel the temple administration should register criminal proceedings against those who have done this. It is not only a violation of Odisha’s pride; it’s a violation of our tradition and rituals. This is condemnable,” said Amar Prasad Satpathy, senior BJD leader and Barchana MLA.
“The Odisha government, it’s Law department and the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration should jointly take strong action against this. Lord Jagannath’s Rath Yatra should be held as per traditions and customs followed in Puri Jagannath temple. The Odisha government should take the initiative in this regard,” said Golak Mahapatra, senior BJP leader.
“Nobody can prevent anyone from worshipping Lord Jagannath, the Lord of the Universe but I feel they have some intention behind holding of untimely Rath Yatra. Strong action is needed against those indulging in such acts. The committee headed by Gajapati Maharaj should lodge an FIR against them. And action should be taken immediately without delay,” said former Pradesh Congress Chief Jayadev Jena.