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Devasthanam Board likely to be dissolved

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By Arun Pratap Singh
Dehradun, 7 Nov: Sources in the government have indicated that, finally, there is serious consideration being given by the Dhami Government to dissolving the Devasthanam Board. It had been constituted by the BJP Government when Trivendra Singh Rawat was the Chief Minister. The constitution of the Devasthanam Board had been strongly opposed by all the traditional stakeholders, including the Teerth Purohits, the Panda Samaj as well as many Hindu organisations. In fact, a petition is also pending against the constitution of the Board in the Supreme Court, which has been filed by BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy.
Some events that occurred during the past few days seem to have forced the government to hasten the decision. The Teerth Purohits had strongly opposed Trivendra Singh Rawat’s recent visit to Kedarnath and he was not allowed to obtain Darshan of the Deity and perform worship. After this, however, the CM and some other cabinet ministers including Harak Singh Rawat and Subodh Uniyal visited the shrine and were allowed to enter the shrine, though slogans were raised.
In fact, before the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Kedarnath, Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami had to visit the shrine and hold a detailed discussion with the Teerth Purohits. According to highly placed sources, Dhami promied the Teerth Purohits positive action on their demand.
Now, Dhami has indicated that a decision on the Devasthanam Board could be taken in the next Assembly Session to be held in Gairsain, which would likely be the last under the present government. The Gairsain session will be held on 29 and 30 November. Sources indicate that the final report of the High Level Committee headed by former MP and veteran BJP leader Manohar Kant Dhyani on the Devasthanam Board is likely to be received in a few days’ time, based on which a final decision would be taken. An interim report has already been submitted by the Committee to the Government and the final report is expected soon. Interestingly, there is strong support within the BJP to dissolving the Devasthanam Board, particularly after the RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat had in no uncertain terms publicly stated that the Hindu religious places ought to be left to the community to manage. However, former CM Trivendra Singh Rawat has spoken in favour of the Board and opposed any move to dissolve the Board.