Union Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt (Photo:ANI)
Union Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt (Photo:ANI)

There was need to reconsider Char Dham Devasthanam Board Act as priest community unhappy: MoS Defence on Uttarakhand's rollback

ANI | Updated: Nov 30, 2021 17:01 IST


New Delhi [India], November 30 (ANI): Union Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt on Tuesday said that there was a need to reconsider the Char Dham Devasthanam Management Board Act because the entire priest community were unhappy.
The Uttarakhand government today announced the repeal of the Char Dham Devasthanam Management Act after almost two years of protests against the legislation by priests associated with the shrines in the state.
The Act had brought the four shrines of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, Yamunotri, and 49 other temples under the purview of a shrine board.
The Char Dham Teerth-Purohit Hak Hakookdhari Mahapanchayat Samiti and other organisations had been demonstrating against the legislation for months.
Speaking to ANI, Union Minister Bhatt said, "There is a need for reconsideration because the entire Panda society and the priests were unhappy with the act. They felt that they have not been asked. When the governments make acts, they make it for the betterment. But if the perception goes wrong, then there should be reconsideration. Our government has reconsidered and there cannot be a bigger thing than that. The demand of the Panda society has been fulfilled today."
The minister further added that the act has been finished completely and the repeal in the Uttarakhand Assembly has remained just a formality.
"It was almost sure that there would be a reconsideration of the constitution of the Devasthanam Board. Our government has respected everyone's emotions. The way that we had brought this bill in Vidhan Sabha, we will act in the same way to repeal the act. Before this, it would be taken up in the cabinet. The act has been withdrawn completely and it has remained merely a formality.
Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami said, "The decision to abolish the Devasthanam Board is taken on the basis of the feedback received by Teerth Purohit, Haq Hookdhari, people's representative and report of a high-level committee."
Last December, the Uttarakhand Assembly had passed the Char Dham Devasthanam Management Board Bill.
The law aimed at bringing the Char Dham of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri and 49 other temples under the purview of a proposed shrine board.
Many organisations including Char Dham Teerth-Purohit Hak Hakookdhari Mahapanchayat Samiti were opposing the said act. According to the temple priests, their rights are being played due to the formation of this board.
Mahapanchayat in its meeting on November 20 had decided to organise a sit-in protest against the Devasthanam Act at worship places of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri Dham. Kedarnath Teerth Purohit Samaj had earlier claimed that the then Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat had assured to reconsider the board.
The agitation against the board has been going for 21 months.
Earlier, Uttarakhand High Court had dismissed two pleas challenging the validity of the said law, one of the pleas were filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy. (ANI)

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