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Rath Yatra 2016: Lord Jagannath begins his 9-Day sojourn amid tight security

Lord Jagannath's chariot, called Nandighosh and is is 45.6 feet high and has 18 wheels

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Rath Yatra 2016. Image source: www.hdwallpaperseek.com
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  • The celebrations mark the visit of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balaram and their sister Devi Subhadra to their aunt’s house for nine days
  • The preparations for the yatra are known to start well in advance, to celebrate the grandness of the festival
  • Amid the fêtes, PM Narendra Modi took to his Twitter handle and wished the nation on the annual occasion of Rath Yatra

Jagannath Rath Yatra is a splendid Hindu festival, which calls out for fervour every year. The celebrations mark the visit of Lord Jagannath (a manifestation of Krishna), Lord Balaram (Balabhadra) and their sister Devi Subhadra to their aunt’s house for nine days.

While the cities get all decked up, the journey to and from their aunt’s house at Shri Gundicha temple are the two important days of festivities, which are celebrated in the seaside town of Puri in Odisha. This year, in 2016, the two days will be July 6 (when the two idols will leave for their aunt’s house) and July 14 (when they’ll return to Jagannath temple, also called Bahuda Yatra).

Being the grandest festival in the city, and in the state, to say the least, the preparations for the yatra are known to start well in advance.  The arrangements begin with the decoration of the elaborate wooden chariots that are pulled by ropes by thousands of devotees. Lord Jagannath’s chariot, called Nandighosh, is 45.6 feet tall and has 18 wheels. Taladhvaja is the name of Lord Balaram’s chariot and is 45 feet high and has 16 wheels and Devi Subhadra’s chariot, Devadalana, stands at 44.6 feet and has 14 wheels.

Signifying that all are equal in the eyes of Lord, the erstwhile rule of the state sweeps the path in front of the decked up rath with a broom having a golden handle and sprinkles sandalwood powder on both the days of the journey of the idols.

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Cognizant to the increasing terror threat to the pilgrim town, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik took a stock of security arrangements. 145 platoons of armed police personnel including officers of various ranks have been deployed in and around the town to ensure that the yatra is carried out peacefully.

Director General of Police (DGP) KB Singh told The New Indian Express, “Multi-layer security arrangements have been made for smooth conduct of the festival. CCTVs have been installed at various locations to keep a tab on the visitors.”

He further said that air surveillance and land patrolling would also be intensified.

Prime Minister Narendra Midi. Image Source: The Indian Express
Prime Minister Narendra Midi. Image Source: The Indian Express

Amid the fêtes, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also took to his Twitter handle and extended his wishes to the nation on the annual occasion of Rath Yatra in a tweet that read, “On the occasion of Rath Yatra, my warmest greetings to you all. May Lord Jagannath continue to shower his blessings on everyone.”

He added, “May the blessings of Lord Jagannath lead to the development of villages, the well-being of poor & farmers and take India to new heights of progress.”

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Meanwhile, Ahmedabad is also celebrating the 139th edition of Lord Jagannath Yatra. BJP chief Amit Shah also offered his prayers at the Jagannath Temple here.

The rath yatra in Ahmedabad will begin from the 400-year old Jagannath temple at Jamalpur.

Considering that the procession will pass through some communally sensitive areas, almost 18,000 security personnel have been deployed at strategic locations throughout the route.

Sand chariots made by Sudarshan Patnaik. Image Source: The New Indian Express
Sand chariots made by Sudarshan Patnaik. Image Source: The New Indian Express

Interestingly, famous sand artist Sudarshan Patnaik also created a grand spectacle and another record for the Limca book by carving out 100 sand chariots on the beach.

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  • Aparna Gupta

    Jagannath Yatra is very well known for its capacity to attract thousands of people. It is a good decision by the government to deploy 18,000 security personals to prevent any mishap.

  • AJ Krish

    Glorious events are also accompanied by a heavy crowd. Strict security measures must be implemented .

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CJI faces revolt from four senior most SC judges

The four judges -- Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Kurian Joseph and Madan B. Lokur besides Justice Chelameswar -- released a letter they wrote to Justice Misra a couple of months ago

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PILs have become very important for Indian Judiciary System. Wikimedia Commons
PILs have become very important for Indian Judiciary System. Wikimedia Commons
  • The sudden revolt against Chief Justice of India (CJI) by the four senior-most judges of Supreme Court has sent the whole judicial system into an uproar.
  • The four judges accused the CJI of corruption and breaches in a surprise Press Conference.
  • Judge Loya’s death’s controversy, supposedly, sparked this reaction out of the other judges.

Divisions in the Supreme Court burst out in the open on Friday when four senior-most judges took an unprecedented step of addressing the media to accuse Chief Justice Dipak Misra of breaching rules in assigning cases to appropriate benches, with one of them pointing to the plea regarding the mysterious death of Special CBI judge B. H. Loya.

The hurried press conference was called to reveal CJI's corruption. Pixabay
The hurried press conference was called to reveal CJI’s corruption. Pixabay

At a hurriedly called press conference at his residence, Justice J. Chelameswar and three other colleagues said the Supreme Court administration was “not in order” and their efforts to persuade Justice Misra even this morning “with a specific request” failed, forcing them to “communicate with the nation” directly.

The four judges — Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Kurian Joseph and Madan B. Lokur besides Justice Chelameswar — released a letter they wrote to Justice Misra a couple of months ago, conceding that he was the master of roster but that was “not a recognition of any superior authority, legal or factual of the Chief Justice over his colleagues”.

Asked specifically if they were upset over reference of the matter seeking a probe into the suspicious death of Judge Loya, Justice Gogoi said: “Yes.”

Judge Loya's death is said to have happened due to a conspiracy. Pixabay
Judge Loya’s death is said to have happened due to a conspiracy. Pixabay

Judge Loya, who was hearing a case relating to the killing of gangster Sohrabuddin Sheikh in an alleged fake shootout in which BJP chief Amit Shah was named an accused (later discharged), died of cardiac arrest in 2014. His family has raised doubts over the circumstances in which Judge Loya died and have sought an independent probe into it.

Plea’s seeking probe came up for a hearing in the Supreme Court on Friday when the top court expressed concerns over it and said it was a “serious issue”. It asked the Maharashtra government to produce all the documents related to the case before January 15.

In a seven-page letter, the four judges said they were not mentioning details of the cases only to avoid embarrassing the institution because “such departures have already damaged the images of this institution to some extent”.

The clash among the judges in the highest court also comes in the wake of a controversial order in November in which Justice Misra declared that the Chief Justice “is the master of the roster” having exclusive power to decide which case will go to which judge.

The CJI called himself 'master of roster' further enraging other judges. Pixabay
The CJI called himself ‘master of the roster’ further enraging other judges. Pixabay

The CJI had given the order a day after a two-judge bench headed by Justice Chelameswar had passed an order that a five-judge bench of senior most judges in the apex court should be set up to consider an independent probe into a corruption case in which bribes were allegedly taken in the name of settling cases pending before Supreme Court judges.

Holding that the Chief Justice was only the first among equals, the four judges contended that there were well-settled and time-honoured conventions guiding the Chief Justice in dealing with the strength of the bench required or the composition thereof.

“A necessary corollary to the above-mentioned principle is the members of any multi-numbered judicial body, including this court, would not arrogate to themselves the authority to deal with and pronounce upon matters which ought to be heard by appropriate benches, both composition-wise and strength-wise with due regard to the roster fixed,” they wrote in the letter.

They said any departure from the two rules would not only lead to “unpleasant and undesirable consequences of creating doubt in the body politic about the integrity of the institution” but would create “chaos”.

The four judges also touched upon another controversial issue, the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) on the appointment of judges over which the Supreme Court had locked horns with the government.

The four judges also touched upon other problematic issues. deliason.files.wordpress.com
The four judges also touched upon other problematic issues. deliason.files.wordpress.com

The government, the letter said, had not responded to the communication and “in view of this silence it must be taken that the MoP has been accepted by the government on the basis of the order of this court”.

Justice Chelameswar told the media that they were “convinced that unless this institution is protected and maintains its requirements, democracy will not survive in the country or any country… The hallmark of a democracy is independent and impartial judges.

“Since all our efforts failed… Even this morning, on a particular issue, we went and met the Chief Justice with a specific request. Unfortunately, we could not convince him that we were right.”

Justice Gogoi said they were “discharging the debt to the nation that has got us here”.

The government appeared to distance itself from the controversy, saying the judges should sort the issue themselves.

Minister of State for Law P. Chaudhary said: “Our judiciary is one of the known, recognised judiciaries in the world. It is an independent judiciary. At this stage, I think no agency is required to intervene or interfere. The Chief Justice and other members should sit together and resolve. There is no question of panic.”

the matter should be resolved among the judges themselves, says P. Chaudhary.

The Supreme Court split had an immediate political fallout, with CPI leader D. Raja saying after meeting Justice Chelameswar that Parliament will have to devise methods to sort out problems like this in the top judiciary.

Two judges, Justice S. A. Bobde and Justice L. Nageshwar Rao, are understood to have called on Justice Chelameswar. IANS