Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami on Tuesday announced that the State government will be withdrawing Char Dham Devasthanam Management Board Act after months of protests by Char Dham Teerth-Purohit Hak Hakookdhari Mahapanchayat Samiti and other organisations. “Our government has taken a decision to take back the Char Dham Devasthanam Management Board Bill,” said Dhami. “The decision to abolish the Devasthanam Board is taken on the basis of the feedback received by Teerth Purohit, Haq Hookdhari, people’s representative and report of a high-level committee,” he added.
Last December, the Uttarakhand Assembly had passed the Char Dham Devasthanam Management Board Bill. The law aimed at bringing the Char Dham of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri and 49 other temples under the purview of a proposed shrine board. Many organisations including Char Dham Teerth-Purohit Hak Hakookdhari Mahapanchayat Samiti were opposing the said act. According to the temple priests, their rights are being played due to the formation of this board.
Mahapanchayat in its meeting on November 20 had decided to organise a sit-in protest against the Devasthanam Act at worship places of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri Dham. Kedarnath Teerth Purohit Samaj had earlier claimed that the then Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat had assured to reconsider the board.
The agitation against the board has been going for 21 months. Earlier, Uttarakhand High Court had dismissed two pleas challenging the validity of the said law, one of the pleas was filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy.