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HindustanTimes Wed,17 Sep 2014

Resettle us first, say Kedarnath pundits to govt
Prithviraj Singh, Hindustan Times
Dehradun, July 22, 2013
First Published: 21:48 IST(22/7/2013)
Last Updated: 23:27 IST(22/7/2013)
Pundits at Kedarnath shrine have warned of protests if the state government starts clearing debris in the area and brings down their partially damaged houses before providing alternative shelters.


 
The Kedarnath pundit community has also opposed government’s decision not to allow construction within 500-metre radius of the shrine. Kedarnath saw widespread devastation in the mid-June flood fury in Uttarakhand.
 
“We want the government to first provide us alternative housing at Kedarnath on the lines of what we had before the disaster struck,” Jaiprakash Shukla, president, Kedarnath Purohit Community, said on Monday.
 
The protest threat came a day after the state government announced it would begin dismantling partially damaged buildings around the shrine area after three weeks.    
 
According to the pundit community, chief minister Vijay Bahuguna could not give a satisfactory reply when they asked him to take them into confidence before dismantling their partially broken houses.
 
“No concrete assurance has come from the CM on our resettlement demand,” Shukla said.
 
Members of the pundits’ organisation said their houses in Kedarnath shrine area were legal and government must compensate them before bringing the partially damaged structures down.
 
The pundits have also demanded the state government restart daily puja at the shrine as soon as possible.
 
“The government must allow us to visit the shrine for conducting special veneration (shuddhi karan) to reprocess the routine pujas,” Shukla said.
 
The pundit community claimed the daily puja of lord Kedarnath being performed at Ukhimath now was not in accordance with tradition and could not be recognised.

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