My decision, says Dhami on scrapping Char Dham law. Then makes a promise
The Char Dham law, which was introduced by the Trivendra Singh Rawat-led government in 2019, allowed the board to act as the highest governing body, to look after the shrines at Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri, and 49 other temples
DEHRADUN: Hours after going public with his plan to scrap the controversial Char Dham Devasthanam Management Act, Uttarakhand chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami on Tuesday asserted that it was “solely his decision” taken in the interest of the state.
“I want to tell you that I am the mukhya sevak (chief servant) to the people of Uttarakhand and this was my decision in the state’s welfare considering the time and situation,” chief minister Dhami said at a Press conference on Tuesday evening.
Dhami also credited the committee led by former Rajya Sabha member Manohar Kant Dhyani which studied the law with “working hard for the last three months”.
The panel submitted its report two days ago. “The report was then analysed by the cabinet sub-committee led by the minister of religious affairs Satpal Maharaj which submitted its report to me yesterday before I took the final decision based on all the aspects related to the welfare of the state.”
The law, which was introduced by the Trivendra Singh Rawat-led government in 2019, allowed the board to act as the highest governing body, to look after the shrines while framing policies and sanctioning expenditure. Priests of the Char Dhams — Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri — opposed the board, saying it was an infringement upon their traditional rights over the Himalayan temples.
Dhami, who was elevated as the chief minister in July this year after his predecessor Trivendra Singh Rawat was told by the Bharatiya Janata Party leadership to step down, also promised that the government will consult people associated with the Char Dham shrines and other temples on “how to improve the facilities for pilgrims” before taking any steps.
One of the prime criticism of Trivendra Singh Rawat for the law was that the state government did not engage the priests when the Char Dham law was first enacted in 2019.
Rawat elaborated. “This will be done by involving all the parties including our priest and saint community in the process. All required steps will be taken to develop our Devbhoomi into the spiritual capital of the world”.
Dhami’s decision to scrap the law comes just as the deadline set for him by the priests was to end on Tuesday.
In an effort to pressurise the government to withdraw the law, the priests had announced their decision to field candidates in the upcoming state assembly polls in 2022. On Saturday, they held a Janakrosh rally in Dehradun under the umbrella of their body named - Char Dham Teerth Purohit Haq Haqooqdhari Mahapanchayat while observing November 27 as a black day because it was the same date last year when the BJP government had passed the Act.