Staff Reporter

Puri: A number of servitors of Jagannath Temple and cultural enthusiasts of Puri on Tuesday took to the street protesting the proposed car festival to be organised by International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) in New Delhi on November 23.

They were enraged over untimely celebration of the festival. Servitors burnt effigy of Srila Prabhupad, the founder acharya of ISKCON. Shouting slogans against the organisers, these servitors threatened not to allow the ISKCON followers to Puri.

“Ratha Yatra is usually celebrated in the month of June and July. Since Puri is the real abode of Lord Jagannath, the festival timing should be followed by everyone in and outside the State. So celebrating Ratha Yatra on an unscheduled date is anti-Hindu,” said Priyadarshan Patnaik, national convenor of Jagannath Sena, a local outfit.

The State government and the Jagannath Temple Administration (JTA) should take action against ISKCON authorities and prevent organisers at New Delhi from celebrating the Rath Yatra. Reacting to the development JTA’s public relation officer Laxmidhar Pujapanda said Dibyasingh Dev, scion of Puri Royal family, had requested other State government not to allow celebration of Car Festival on any unscheduled date. Despite the protest last year, ISKCON had celebrated the car festival in New Delhi. It had evoked sharp reactions among servitors and other die-hard followers of Jagannath cult.

However, Bhubaneswar unit of ISKCON had disassociated from the whole controversy. Chief of ISKCON, Bhubaneswar Golak Mohapatra said, “we are not part of the decision taken at New Delhi. We will follow the rituals of Jagannath Temple at Puri. We have even passed a resolution to this effect.”