Puri (Odisha) [India], June 23 (ANI): Jagannath temple priest, who has tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday ahead of Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra in Puri, will not be allowed to participate in the festival.
State Law Minister Pratap Jena told ANI, "Puri Jagannath temple sevayat (Priest) is found COVID-19 positive. He will not be allowed to participate in Rath Yatra."
"All the rituals are smoothly running on time after the Apex Court gave permission to hold the annual Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra festival without devotees," he added.
As per the Supreme Court guidelines, only those who have been found COVID-19 negative will pull the chariots, three raths named Nandighosh of Lord Jagannath, Taladwaja of Lord Balabhadra and Darpadalana of sister Subhadra.
Earlier, Balwant Singh, District Magistrate of Puri informed that the authorities will be performing the COVID-19 test for the participants as the temple administration is taking care of the rituals.
Rajlakshmi Sahu, resident of Puri who is attending the Yatra from home, "We are glad to witness the Rath Yatra from the terrace of our home. It is unbelievable to see that Rath Yatra is permitted during the pandemic in the city."
"I wish that next year all the devotees could also participate in the annual Jagannath Rath Yatra," she added.
Meanwhile, Puri Sankaracharya Swami Nischalananad Saraswati visited three Raths and performed pooja.
The Supreme Court on Monday modified its earlier order and allowed the annual Jagannath Rath Yatra in Odisha's Puri to be held with the coordination of the Temple committee, State and Central government without compromising with the health issue pertaining to COVID-19.
The court had earlier stayed the annual Rath Yatra at Jagannath Temple in Puri. (ANI)