Dehradun: Priests protest against proposed Char Dham Shrine Board bill
The teerath purohits and priests are demanding that the state government should take them into confidence before tabling the bill in the state Assembly
Hundreds of teerath purohits and priests associated with various Hindu temples in Uttarakhand staged a protest demonstration near the Uttarakhand Assembly on the opening day of the winter session against the proposed Char Dham Shrine Board Bill on Wednesday.
More than three hundred teerath purohits and priests marched towards the state Assembly but were stopped by the police by erecting a barricade. The agitating teerath purohit and priests unable to move forward staged a dharna in support of their demands.
The teerath purohits and priests associated with 51 Hindu temples across the state are agitated following the proposal of the state government to bring Shrine Board Bill to take control of these temples on the lines of Vaishno Devi Shrine Board and Tirupati Balaji Shrine Board.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat had argued that more than one crore pilgrims would be visiting the “Char Dham” temples comprising Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri besides other temples in the next decade and that to provide them with better facilities formation of Shrine Board was necessary.
He had announced that the board will be headed by the Chief Minister and run by a Chief Executive Officer who would be an IAS officer. The teerath purohits and priests were assured that their interests would be taken care of.
The teerath purohits and priests are demanding that the state government should take them into confidence before tabling the bill in the state Assembly.
Suresh Semwal, President of the Gangotri Mandir Samiti said that the state government should hold talks before presenting the draft bill. Earlier, the priests of Gangotri and Yamunotri shrines held a protest demonstration at Uttarkashi on December 1 and also tried to gherao the residence of the chief minister on the eve of state Assembly session on Tuesday.
Sushil Kumar, general secretary of Uttarakhand Nav Nirman Sena which also participated in the protest, said that the ‘Char Dham’ temples are being run since time immemorial on Vedic principles and century old traditions and managed by temple committees monitored by government officials.
“All the government run bodies in Uttarakhand are in pathetic condition then where is the guarantee that Char Dham Shrine Board will overhaul the entire system? We want dialogue with the government on the issue but the state BJP government is reluctant even to hold talks,” he said.