Dhami scraps Chardham Devasthanam Board, gets priests’ blessings

  • | Tuesday | 30th November, 2021

Dehradun, Nov 30 (PTI) The Uttarakhand government led by Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami on Tuesday ordered scrapping of the Chardham Devasthanam Board, reversing the 2019 decision of his predecessor Trivendra Singh Rawat. Dhami’s decision led the Congress to term the scrapping of the Board as "defeat” of the saffron party"s “arrogance” even as the Chardham priests hailed the decision, terming it as their “victory” and thanking Dhami for it while distributing sweets among themselves. They also offered prayers at Gangotri and Yamunotri temples in the Himalayas praying for Dhami’s long life. "After studying all aspects of the issue, we have decided to withdraw the Chardham Devasthanam Board Act," Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami said. Chardham priests had been demanding scrapping of the board ever since its creation in 2019 saying it was an infringement of their traditional rights over the temples. A high-level committee constituted by Dhami to look into the Devasthanam Board issue had submitted its recommendations to him in Rishikesh on Sunday. "We went through the details of the report submitted by the panel headed by Manohar Kant Dhyani. After considering all aspects of the issue, our government has decided to withdraw the Act," Chief Minister Dhami said. Constituted during the tenure of former Chief Minister Rawat, the Chardham Devasthanam Board managed the affairs of 51 temples across the state including the famous Himalayan temples of Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. Chardham priests described the scrapping of the Board a result of the sustained pressure they had mounted on the government to scrap it. "It is a historic decision. A unique incident of Indian democracy where a government had to withdraw its own decision under the public pressure," Chardham Teerth Purohit Hak Hakookdhari Mahapanchayat spokesman Brajesh Sati said. He, however, thanked the chief minister for the decision. Gangotri Mandir Samiti president Harish Semwal and Yamunotri Teerth Purohit Mahasabha president Purushottam Uniyal said it was a victory of "Sanatan dharma". They said they thank the chief minister on behalf of the entire priest community for scrapping the board and protecting the sanatan dharma. Chardham priests had agitated long for scrapping of the board. They had hooted and shown black flags to former Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat in Kedarnath earlier this month forcing him to return from there without a "darshan". They had also performed "sheershasana" outside Cabinet minister Subodh Uniyal"s residence in Dehradun recently demanding scrapping of the board besides staging a protest rally on Saturday. Congress" campaign head for Uttarakhand and former Chief Minister Harish Rawat described it as a victory of the priests community. "As in the case of the three agri laws, arrogance has once again been defeated. The BJP has taken the decision sensing its imminent defeat in the coming polls. It is a victory of the priests who refused to budge. I congratulate them," the AICC general secretary said. Aam Aadmi Party"s chief ministerial candidate Col (Retd) Ajay Kothiyal also congratulated priests for their victory saying their letter written in blood to the President and the Prime Minister had finally borne fruit. He also said by scrapping the board, the BJP government has confessed that it had committed a crime by constituting it. PTI ALM RAX RAX

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