After two Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ministers, now actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha of the party has also come out against the Bihar government's proposal for an online facility for Hindus to offer pinda daanritual, terming it a "short cut method" minus any "feeling".
"It is neither proper nor practical to go for an online facility to offer pinda daan. I am against online pinda daan," Sinha said of the ritual performed by Hindus for the dead.
Sinha performed the ritual Sunday for his parents and ancestors at the Vishnupad Temple in Gaya, about 100 km from here, and was very impressed.
Speaking to IANS over phone on Monday, Sinha said there was no option than being physically present in Gaya to offer pinda daan. "My opinion is clear. The option for everything is not possible, including for pinda daan in Gaya," he said.
"The proposed online pinda daan is a shortcut method to perform the rituals without any real touch and feeling. But physical presence to perform the rite gives peace of mind. I favour that people should visit Gaya and in person perform the pinda daan," Sinha said.
The actor said the ritual for his parents was overdue for a long time because he had been busy despite regularly visiting Patna, his native town, but he was able to perform the pinda daan personally at last. "It was an amazing experience, I fulfilled my duty," he said.
Sinha's view has been welcomed by Hindu priests who are against the proposed online facility.
Ranjeet Lal Jhangar, a Hindu priest, said their opposition to the online facility stood vindicated. "Now we have the support of Shatrughan Sinha," he said.
In June, Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi had announced the government's decision to introduce a video-conferencing facility for Indians abroad to perform pinda daan.
However, priests in the holy town of Gaya who have been conducting the ritual described the government's decision as "interference" and an "attack on an age-old religious service".
The priests won support from a section of the BJP, with ministers Ashwani Kumar Choubey and Prem Kumar asking the government to reverse its decision.
Last month, the Bihar government decided to postpone its plan for an online facility.
Thousands of Hindus from across India and abroad gather in Gaya to offer pinda daan during the fortnight-long Pitrapaksh period that began last week.
Legend has it that Lord Rama and his wife Sita performed this religious rite for his father, King Dasharath.