The Devbhoomi Tirtha Purohit Haqhaquqdhari Mahapanchayat, an association of the priests of the Char Dham shrines in Uttarakhand, has said that it will soon start a protest against the state government's decision to set up a Char Dham Devasthanam Management Board, reports Hindustan Times.
According to the report, the priest community alleged that they were kept in the dark about the new shrine board law, which was passed in December last year to manage 51 temples in state, including the Char Dham shrines.
The state assembly had passed the Char Dham Shrine Management Board Bill in December 2019 with a small change by replacing the 'Shrine' with 'Devasthanam'.
The priests further alleged that the decision was taken by the government to sideline them and ensure full government control of temple related issues.
Meanwhile, a priest from the Kedarnath dham, Santosh Trivedi, already started a solo protest over 10 days ago, sitting bare-chested in cold conditions outside the holy shrine of Lord Shiva, demanding that the decision to set up the board be revoked.
“Santosh Trivedi, the tirtha purohit of Kedarnath has been protesting since June 12 against the formation of the Char Dham Devasthanam Management Board. As a sign of protest, Trivedi meditates thrice a day outside the shrine when prayers are being offered," Vinod Shukla, president of Kedarnath Tirtha Purohit Mahasabha, a priests’ body of the shrine, was quoted in the report as saying.
The spokesperson of Devbhoomi Tirtha Purohit Haqhakudhari Mahapanchayat, Brijesh Sati said protests against the board will soon start at other shrines also.
“The priests of shrines like Gangotri, Yamunotri and Badrinath are discussing on how to step up the protests and soon they will start at those shrines also,” said Sati.
A petition has also been filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy in Nainital High Court, challenging the Uttarakhand goverment's decision to takeover the state's temples.
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