The Supreme Court of India announced today that any activities related to the massive annual event in Puri, Rath Yatra 2020, will not be allowed this year.
The nation’s Apex court cited public health concerns in the time of Pandemic while disallowing this year’s Rath Yatra that takes place in the State of Odisha, NDTV reports. Lord Jagannath is ferried from the Jagannath Temple to a nearby temple, ritually in the event attended by hundreds of thousands of devotees.
“Such gatherings can’t take place at the time of the pandemic. Lord Jagannath will not forgive us if we allowed the rath yatra,” Chief Justice of India SA Bobde told while presiding over a petition to stop the ceremony that is scheduled to take place on June 23rd.
Meanwhile, Rath making was already on the way, with the 70 workers engaged in the sacred work already undergone the coronavirus, We The World Magazine earlier reported.
However, administrations were already grappling with the idea to disallow devotees from pulling the rope of the chariot, reportedly for the first time in history.
According to reports, in the petition, the local non-profit Odisha Vikas Parishad told Rath yatra 2020 will garner some 10 lakh devotees in the event that can go on for 10-12 days.
Healthcare professionals and public health experts have warned against any mass gathering of sorts, given the highly contagious nature of the virus.
The chances of infection increase manifolds when people gather for a long time. The petition argued the Rath Yatra will be an invitation to the virus.
“We may ban access of devotees to Rath Yatra festival. (…)Allowing congregation of huge numbers of cops, government officers, and servitors to pull the chariots may be risky amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” a senior government official was quoted as saying last month, who was not named.
India’s coronavirus count is steadily increasing. In the last 24-hours, the nation recorded the highest single-day spike of 12,881 cases.
The total infected count now stands at 3,66,946 in the nation, putting India just below Russia, on the 4th spot of the worst-hit counties by COVID-19.
India’s recovery rate is at a little more than 50% with 1,94,325 people recovering so far and 12,237 succumbing to the highly infectious disease.
The Jagannath temple administrators earlier told that they will dismantle the built chariots, which is made anew every year and will use the words in the temple kitchen.
The historic decision has arguably taken many by surprise. This is how netizens are reacting:
(Cover Image courtesy of @Chakradhari_9 via Twitter)