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The Supreme Court of India (File Photo)
The Supreme Court of India (File Photo)

Plea in SC seeks stay on holding Puri Rath Yatra due to COVID-19 crisis

ANI | Updated: Jun 15, 2020 23:30 IST

New Delhi [India], June 15 (ANI): A petition has been moved in the Supreme Court by an NGO seeking direction to stay on annual Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra, which is scheduled to commence on June 23 in Puri, Odisha.
The petitioner, NGO Odisha Vikas Parishad, stated that if the Rath Yatra is allowed, then COVID-19 infection will increase manifold.
It sought an immediate order directing the respondents, including the Odisha government, not to grant any permission for holding the Rath Yatra till the disposal of the accompanying writ petition.

A religious congregation of such nature will be dangerous, which has been specifically prohibited by the state government vide its guidelines of June 1 and 6, the NGO stated in the petition, a copy of which is available with ANI.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Government of India vide its guideline of May 30, also stated if any congregation will be allowed, it will lead to severe catastrophic results and it will be very difficult on the part of the authorities to control the spread of virus thereafter, the petitioner stated.
Thus, keeping in mind the interests of the general public at large, it would be apposite to postpone the Rath Yatra festival which is scheduled to commence on June 23 and further continue for a period of 10-12 days thereafter, it added.
Meanwhile, in Odisha, the construction of Raths for the Yatra are underway in full swing after the temple administration decided to take out the Yatra under Section 144 imposition, without the presence of devotees.
Odisha government has restricted religious congregations till June 30. (ANI)