In a huge relief for the people of Odisha , Supreme Court has allowed holding of historic Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra at Puri with certain conditions on June 23 . The SC modifies its June 18 order, allows Rath Yatra after taking note of Odisha’s stand that it can be held without public attendance. The SC has directed Odisha government to impose curfew in Puri City during the time when Rath Yatra chariots are taken in procession.
SC says each Rath to be pulled by not more than 500 people and all of them to be tested for coronavirus. Those engaged in pulling chariot shall maintain social distancing before, during and after Rath Yatra, said SC. further SC directs Odisha government to maintain record of persons allowed in Rath Yatra with details of medical conditions after testing.
Reacting to the Supreme Court decision, Union Home Minister Amit Shah tweeted that the entire nation is delighted by the decision
Today is a special day for all of us, particularly our Odia sisters and brothers as well as devotees of Mahaprabhu Shri Jagannath Ji. The entire nation is delighted by the decision of the Honourable Supreme Court to ensure the Rath Yatra goes on.
— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) June 22, 2020
As soon as the Supreme Court came in it is learnt from report by news agency that Odisha government has activated its administrative machinery on a war footing for smooth conduct of the annual festival to be held on June 23.Chief Secretary A K Tripathy and Director General of Police (DGP) Abhay rushed to the pilgrim town to make the necessary arrangements.
“The DGP and I are rushing to Puri to take stock of the situation as per the direction of the chief minister. We will camp there,” Tripathy said. “I am confident that the Ratha Yatra will be conducted smoothly tomorrow without devotees and strict adherence to the COVID-19 guidelines,” he said.
The Puri district administration held a preparatory meeting for the historic event and different departments were directed to keep their apparatus ready for the festival.
Meanwhile , Odisha government imposed a ‘curfew-like’ shutdown in Puri district ahead of the historic Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra and appealed to citizens to refrain from stepping out of their homes when the chariots roll out on the Grand Road on June 23 in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ‘curfew-like’ shutdown will be in force across the district from 9 pm of Monday till 2 pm on Wednesday, said Director General of Police (DGP) Abhay and appealed to the people to abide by the Supreme Court’s directives while celebrating the historic Rath Yatra amidst the COVID-19 crisis.
The DGP also said that more than 50 platoons (one platoon has 30 personnel) of police force are being deployed for the security management of the nine-day festival.
“We have already started deployment of force since Sunday evening expecting to hold the Rath Yatra,” Abhay said.