Odisha Govt’s Decision To Keep Religious Places Closed Challenged In Orissa HC

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Cuttack: Two PILs have been filed in the Orissa High Court challenging the state government’s decision to keep religious places and places of worship closed for the public till August 31.

The petitioners — Cuttack-based Jayanta Kumar Bal and Trilochan Rath of Puri — have both stated that the state government’s decision is contrary to Unlock 3.0 guidelines issued by the Centre on July 29. They have demanded quashing of the government notification and sought direction to open the Jagannath Temple in Puri and other religious places by maintaining social distancing and wearing of mask.

“At present, there is no containment zone at Puri town and other religious places of different religions in the state. Hence, keeping the Jagannath Temple and other places of worship closed for public is illegal, arbitrary, unconstitutional and unreasonable,” the petitions have contended.

“If mall, fitness centre, gym, yoga centres, liquor shops and public places are opened for public, there is no just cause and fairness in stopping the devotees of Lord Jagannath and other devotees to their religious places,” Bal argued in his petition.

Rath cited a recent observation made by the Supreme Court on a petition seeking direction to Jharkhand and Central governments to open Baba Baidhyanath Jyotirlinga Temple at Deoghar and Baba Basukinath Temple for public.

Both petitions are expected to be taken up on Friday.

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