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Rath Yatra: Complete shutdown in Puri from 9 pm till 2 pm tomorrow

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Puri, June 22: Odisha government on Monday imposed complete shutdown in Puri district from 9 pm today till Wednesday 2 pm, following the Supreme Court order on Puri's famous Rath Yatra, banning the hugely popular festival.

The court, while allowing the trust and government take a decision also said that all health protocols should be maintained.

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"No passenger train and private or public buses other than those carrying personnel on govt duty/police and vehicles on emergency services shall be allowed to enter Puri district between 9 PM today and 2 PM of June 24, in view of Rath Yatra," said Odisha Special Relief Commissioner.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday said the entire country is delighted over the Supreme Court decision on Jagannath Rath Yatra in Puri and stressed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi took the initiative for consultations which ensured that the "great traditions of our land are observed".

In a series of tweets, Shah said that last evening, as per the instructions of the prime minister, "he spoke to Gajapati Maharaj (The King of Puri) and the respected Shankaracharya of Puri and sought their views on the Rath Yatra".

Shah said this morning, on the prime minister's instructions, he spoke to the Solicitor General.

"Today is a special day for all of us, particularly our Odia sisters and brothers as well as devotees of Mahaprabhu Shri Jagannath Ji. The entire nation is delighted by the decision of the Honourable Supreme Court to ensure the Rath Yatra goes on," he said.

The home minister said he as well as crores of devotees across India were happy that the Prime Minister "not only understood the sentiment of the devotees but also initiated consultations which ensured that the great traditions of the country are observed".

"Considering the urgency and importance of the matter, it was placed in front of a vacation bench of the Supreme Court and the hearing took place this afternoon, which paved the way for the important decision by the SC. Congratulations to the people of Odisha," he said.

The Supreme Court on Monday indicated it would allow Puri's Rath Yatra, scheduled to start from June 23, saying it cannot "micro-manage" the rituals and left it to the wisdom of state, the Centre and temple management to deal with that issue.

On rath yatras, SC allows Odisha govt, Temple trust take decision

The apex court had on June 18 said that in the interest of public health and safety of citizens, this year's Puri Rath Yatra cannot be allowed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and that "Lord Jagannath won't forgive us if we allow" it. A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde was informed informed by the Centre that Rath Yatra can be conducted without compromising on citizen's health and with co-operation of state and temple trust.

The Odisha government too said that it will coordinate with temple management and the Centre to make things smooth during the Rath Yatra.

The top court said it is considering the issue of conducting Rath Yatra in Puri only and not at other places in Odisha.

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