Priests regain control of Char Dham Shrines in Uttarakhand

Hindu unity forces the Government to repeal the draconian Act

Kedarnath Temple on left & Badrinath temple on right

Dehradun (Uttarakhand) – The Bill to repeal the Devasthanam Board Act, which was passed in the Uttarakhand Assembly in December last year, was approved by Uttarakhand Governor, Lt Gen Gurmit Singh (retd) on 27th February. With this, the management and administration of over 50 temples, including the Char Dham Shrines of Kedarnath, Badrinath, Yamunotri and Gangotri, has now returned to priests, who had been agitating for over two years against the move to give control of the Shrines’ affairs to a Board headed by bureaucrats.

The Badri-Kedar Temple Committee, which was looking after the management of Kedarnath and Badrinath Shrines before the constitution of the Char Dham Devasthanam Board, would continue to do so, while the Yamunotri and Gangotri Temples would be managed by Committees headed by local priests.

Responding to this development, Brijesh Sati (Spokesperson of Char Dham Teertha Purohit Hakhakookdhari Mahapanchayat, a body representing the Char Dham priests), said, “This is a victory for our hard work and determination to oppose the draconian Board. The Raj Bhawan’s nod to the Bill repealing the Act has come after 77 days of the Assembly passing it. We feel it could have been approved faster but now that it is done, we welcome the decision”.

The priests of the Char Dham Shrines and the BJP-led State Government had been at loggerheads on the issue since November 2019, when the proposal for constitution of a Board on the lines of the Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board was mooted to manage the affairs of the Char Dham Shrines and other associated temples. The Bill was tabled and passed in the State Assembly in December 2019 and later a notification was issued in February 2020.

The Char Dham priests who considered it an infringement of their centuries-old rights to have a say in the affairs of the temples, were very upset with this Act

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