By Arun Pratap Singh
Dehradun, 18 Nov: The issue of the Devasthanam Shrine Board for management of Char Dham and allied shrines is continuing to be a major headache for the BJP Government in Uttarakhand. The Teerth Purohits, who have been demanding the dissolution of the Devasthanam Board for a long time, have now issued an ultimatum to the government. They have threatened to gherao the Vidhan Sabha during the Winter Session and have declared that they would field their candidates in around 15 assembly constituencies if the issue is not resolved by 30 November.
This was announced at a press conference held in Rishikesh, today, by the Teerth Purohits under the banner of the Mahapanchayat of stakeholders of the Char Dham shrines.
It may be recalled that, while Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami has assured the Teerth Purohits that positive action would be taken on their demands, there seems to be no subsequent action on the government’s part. Therefore the protest against the Board still continues. Despite the assurances from the government to the Teerth Purohits, so far, there is no clear indication of any conclusive decision coming in this regard.
Political pundits expect some concrete decision in this regard by 30 November, but the Teerth Purohits do not, perhaps, want to let the pressure ease on the government in the meanwhile and, therefore, they declared today that they would gherao the Vidhan Sabha and also contest the upcoming polls if the issue is not resolved by 30 November. Along with this, they will also oppose the Devasthanam Board by sending postcards to the Prime Minister and the Teerth Purohits of the whole country.
At the Press Conference held, today, the Committee Chairman, Krishnakant Kothiyal, and General Secretary Harish Dimri criticised the government. They pointed out that the government had twice promised to dissolve the Devasthanam Board during the talks held between them but nothing had happened so far. They further reminded that the Chief Minister Dhami had had sought time till 20 October to resolve the issue but there had been no action by thus far. They further stated that no less than three ministers of the Dhami Government, too, had promised to dissolve the Devasthanam Board but the Teerth Purohits continued to be taken for a ride.
Krishnakant Kothiyal said that the priests had taken the decision to resume the agitation which had been taken back due to PM Modi’s visit to Kedarnath, following some assurances. He added that the Devasthanam Board would be opposed by them and they would send postcards to the President and the Prime Minister in this regard.
By Arun Pratap Singh