- Uttarakhand government has decided to repeal Devasthanam Board Act, 2019
- With the repealing of the act, the management of Char Dhams will now be taken care of by Bhakts themselves
- It should have never happened in a BJP ruled state, as one of the party’s key trademark is protecting Hindu sentiments
It’s not always that Hindus have to fight for their rights in a BJP ruled state. Unfortunately, this had become a reality in Uttarakhand for Char Dham Bhakts. The fight was successful and now Bhakts themselves will be handling the shrines.
Government approves the bill
Gurmit Singh, Hon’ble Governor of Uttarakhand has approved the bill which will repeal Devasthanam Board Act, 2019. With Governor’s assent, now more than 50 Mandirs have been freed from Government’s control and will be independently handled by Pujaris appointed by Bhakts’ consensus. These include Char Dham shrines of Kedarnath, Badrinath, Yamunotri and Gangotri as well.
Expressing satisfaction over Governor’s assent to the bill, Brijesh Sati, spokesperson of Char Dham Teerth Purohit HakHakookdhari Mahapanchayat, said, “This is a victory for our hard work and determination to oppose the draconian board. The Raj Bhawan’s nod to the bill repealing the Act has come after 77 days of the assembly passing it. We feel it could have been approved faster but now that it is done, we welcome the decision.”
The government had decided to regulate the Dhams through an act
After Trivendra Singh Rawat took oath as Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, he started to work on regulating Char Dhams through a body having statutory backing. Trivendra Singh Rawat passed the Uttarakhand Char Dham Devasthanam Management Act, 2019, which ultimately became the Uttarakhand Char Dham Devasthanam Management Act, 2019.
In January 2020, the government at the time constituted the Uttarakhand Char Dham Devasthanam Board under the act. As reported by TFI, the provisions of the act stated that the Chief Minister was to be appointed as chairman while the minister for religious affairs was to be the vice-chairman of the board.
The act was highly unpopular in the state
As soon as the act was passed, a huge uproar against the act started in the state. This led to a decline in the popularity of Rawat and he had to resign from his post. He was succeeded by Tirath Singh Rawat who removed 51 Mandirs from the regulations by the aforementioned act. However, he made no such commitment for Char Dhams.
Later, Tirath Singh Rawat was removed from his post as well and replaced by Pushkar Singh Dhami. In August 2021, Dhami decided to form a committee with regard to the management of Char Dhams. 3 months later, the government announced that it would repeal the contentious act and let Bhakts manage the Dhams on their own.
It’s unfortunate that Bhakts had to fight for their rights in Uttarakhand. BJP should improve its functioning and make sure that no further discrepancy arises in future.