Ahmedabad: An NGO claiming to represent devotees of Lord Jagannath moved an application in the Gujarat High Court Monday, seeking modification of its order staying the annual rath yatra of the deity.
The high court last week stayed Lord Jagannath’s rath yatra in Ahmedabad, scheduled for June 23, considering the prevailing coronavirus situation.
NGO Hindu Yuva Vahini moved an application for urgent hearing, and urged HC to modify its order and allow authorities to take out a symbolic rath yatra from the Jagannath temple here on its scheduled date of June 23 in a limited manner, with only three holy chariots and within the shortest possible route without any involvement of the public.
A division bench of Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice JB Pardiwala in its order Saturday stayed all secular and religious activities related to the rath yatra.
The court’s order came on a PIL moved by activist and journalist Hitest Chavda, seeking direction against allowing the annual procession considering the coronavirus pandemic.
NGO Hindu Yuva Vahini, through its lawyer Vivek Bhamre, Monday sought to implead itself as a third party intervener to represent Lord Jagannath’s devotees, who it said were not represented in the PIL on which the order was passed.
It said the rath yatra, “an important event in the history of Ahmedabad,” has been taken out every year since 1878, even during curfew, and the religious occasion is a symbol of communal harmony.
While the present situation is unprecedented and the safety and security of the general public is of paramount importance, the applicant said the yatra can be allowed in a limited form with little public participation along the shortest route.
“The rath yatra was introduced in the year 1878, and the gesture of the Lord himself coming out with his brother and sister on holy chariots is significant…the rath yatra was not cancelled even once in the last 142 years, not even during testing times. The procession was taken out even during curfew,” it said.