Bhubaneswar: Hours after BJP State General Secretary Lekhashree Samantsinghar questioned the Odisha government over the delay in reopening Puri Srimandir, Law Minister Pratap Jena on Tuesday said an appropriate decision will be taken in this regard after taking into account the COVID-19 situation.
“We are aware of the desperation among people to have the temples opened and will take necessary action at the most opportune time,” he said.
The minister further said that any comparison with other states, where temples and other religious institutions have been opened, is unwarranted.
He also warned about the possibility of the second wave of COVID-19 in Odisha in December with the onset of winter, while referring to the rise in cases in Delhi.
Earlier in the day, Lekhashree had urged the government to take concrete steps to reopen Jagannath temple in Puri.
In a video message, she targetted the government over ‘missing Ratna Bhandar key’ and attempts to stall Rath Yatra while accusing some political leaders and individuals of hatching a conspiracy to ruin the rich cultural heritage of Odisha.
“Temples and other religious sites have reopened in other parts of the country, but the Odisha government continues to keep the world-famous Jagannath Temple shut on the pretext of COVID situation. The state government should issue necessary SOPs and reopen the shrine immediately,” she added.
Notably, servitors and priests across Odisha have also appealed the state government for allowing temples to reopen.