U'khand: Priests take out rally against Devasthanam Act

U'khand: Priests take out rally against Devasthanam Act

Blowing conch shells, teerth-purohits (priests) took out a rally here on Thursday demanding withdrawal of the Chardham Devasthanam Management Act, terming it as a "conspiracy" by the government to take over ancient temples served by them for generations.

The rally of priests associated with Gangotri dham temple began from the collectorate office here and concluded at Gangotri dharmashala after passing through Bhairav Chawk, Vishwanath Chawk, Main Bazar, Bus Adda and Bhatwadi road.

Teerth-purohits attending the rally said their forefathers had served the presiding deity of the temple as well as the devotees visiting it since time immemorial.

"Now that devotees in hordes have begun to visit the Himalayan temple and the other ones in the region due to our consistent service, the government is conspiring to encroach upon them under the pretext of Devasthanam Management Act," Suresh Semwal, a priest said.

The priests also threatened to stage a similar rally in Haridwar soon along with saints and seers in protest against the act. The agitation will continue till the act is revoked, they said.

The state assembly passed the Devasthanam Management Act last month to run the affairs of over 50 temples, including the four Himalayan shrines of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri.

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