- UP's priest community wants the CM to withdraw his order immediately.
- They believe that Yogi Adityanath doesn't understand the significance of their work
A group of Hindu priests in Mathura are not pleased with UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's order to take action against touts and "Pandas", saying that this will bring misery to the whole community. An effigy of Yogi was burnt at Nagar Palika crossing in Vrindaban today as some members of Panda community raised slogans against the UP CM's latest order.
"Chief Minister Yogi with his order for crackdown on Panda community, virtually has withdrawn the facilities available to the pilgrims from remote areas," RLD leader Tara Chand Goswami said. "It is unconstitutional also, since the government cannot withdraw facility available to pilgrims," he said, adding it is also an attempt to create a hurdle in the profession of Panda community. The community has stressed that following the order, the police and administrative action would bring the whole priest community under the lens and hence cause a lot of distress.
Adityanath, during his maiden visit to Agra yesterday, had ordered authorities to take action against "Lapkas" (touts) and "Pandas" (Purohits) as they are a source of nuisance to international as well as domestic tourists.Taking exception to this order, the community has demanded its immediate withdrawal, as it would deprive pilgrims the basic facilities that "the government has failed to provide them so far".
"The chief minister should disclose the facilities he has provided to pilgrims so far, as a pilgrim is still hankering for transport, drinking water, proper food, guide, lodging etc," national president of Akhil Bhartiya Tirth Purohit Mahasabha Mahesh Pathak said, adding that probably Yogi has not been apprised of the "sacrificing and cooperating" attitude of Pandas.
While President Pranab Mukherjee needed a Tirth Purohit during his visit to Badrinath, in Kedarnath, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also needed one, he said. "If Yogi does not amend his order on Pandas, we would hold a convention of All India Tirth Purohit Mahasabha in Mathura on June 11 to decide future course of action," Pathak added.
He said that he had earlier requested the district administration of different pilgrim centres including Mathura, to issue cards to valid Tirth Purohits of Brijbhumi, since Lapkas (touts) are jeopardising the basic culture of pilgrimage. "Yogi should know that a Tirth Purohit has such cordial relations with pilgrims that they,instead of staying at a hotel, loves to stay at the residence ofsuch Purohits," Girish Sharma, the head of Panda association Jatipura said.
The president of Panda Sabha Vrindaban- Nand Kumar Pathak said, if the chief minister is really interested to provide relief to the pilgrims, he should improve the infrastructure. Krishna Gopal Parasar, another Panda from Baldeo has demanded withdrawal of the "draconian order", failing which the entire Brahmin Community and Panda Community here would "teach a lesson" to the party Yogi belongs to, in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 6:41 PM IST