Uttarakhand to repeal ‘Char Dham Devasthanam Board Management Act’

The state government had tabled the Uttarakhand Char Dham Shrine Management Bill, 2019, in the assembly in December 2019 amid protests in and outside the Vidhan Sabha.

The Bill was aimed at bringing the ‘char dham’ of Badrinath, Kedarnath (above), Gangotri and Yamunotri and 49 other temples under the purview of a proposed shrine board

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami on Tuesday announced the repeal of the ‘Char Dham Devasthanam Board Management Act’.

The state government had tabled the Uttarakhand Char Dham Shrine Management Bill, 2019, in the assembly in December 2019 amid protests in and outside the Vidhan Sabha.

Dhami tweeted. “Considering the sentiments and interests of people, honour of priests and stakeholders and others associated with char dham and on the basis of the report of a high-level committee constituted under Manohar Kant Dhyani [a BJP politician and a former member of the Rajya Sabha from Uttarakhand], the government has decided to repeal Devasthanam Board Act.”

The Bill was aimed at bringing the ‘char dham’ of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri and 49 other temples under the purview of a proposed shrine board. It was passed in the assembly in December 2019, and became the Uttarakhand Char Dham Devasthanam Management Act, 2019. Under the same Act, the BJP government led by then CM Trivendra Singh Rawat constituted the Uttarakhand Char Dham Devasthanam Board on January 15, 2020.

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Priests of the ‘char dhams’ and other stakeholders resorted to protests in support of the board’s disbanding.

The Congress had extended support to those priests and pandas who were protesting the formation of the board. The Congress had called the BJP government ‘dharma virodhi’. People holding different responsibilities in the ‘char dham’ temples came under the banner of the Char Dham Mahapanchayat Hakukdhari to raise voice against the Bill. Pandas, Dimris and others who run dharamshalas and shops at the Badrinath and Kedarnath shrines had staged protests in Dehradun.

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