Police Complaint Against Dharmendra For Comparing ‘Chhera Panhara’ With 'Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan'

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19 July 2018

Bikash Das

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Bhubaneswar: The controversy ignited by the comparison of ‘Chhera Pahanra’ ritual of Rath Yatra with 'Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan' launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has landed Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan into deep trouble.

Students of Utkal University today condemned his statement and lodged a police complaint against Pradhan that read, "Being an Odia, he should understand the sentiments of Odias attached with Lord Jagannath and His holy rituals. The Odia emotions are highly distressed by the terms he used for Gajapati Maharaj as Jhadudaar."

They have demanded Pradhan should apologise to the people of Odisha at the earliest and threatened to organise a statewide mass protest if he does not produce an unconditional apology.

Ex-Students' Union President of the University, Mahesh Prasad said, "Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has insulted the Odia culture by comparing the ritual of 'Chhera Pahanra' with ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan’, which is a failure throughout the country and meaningless. He must apologise for insulting the Jagannath culture or he will face similar fate as other leaders who had insulted Jagannath culture in the past."

The students had also blocked the National Highway in front of the university today in protest of the statement.

During the 'Chhera Pahanra' ritual in Rath Yatra, Puri King sweeps the three chariots of the Holy Trinity - Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra - before devotees pull them to Gundicha Temple.

Pradhan during his visit to Puri on the occasion of Rath Yatra on July 14 had said that the sweeping and keeping clean is a part of Odia culture and the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan has connections with the Jagannath culture.

Reacting on his statement, Odisha Law Minister Pratap Jena had said that such a comparison is an insult to Odia culture and tradition and had demanded Pradhan's apology.

However, Pradhan stated that the ruling party leaders in Odisha are trying to cover their own inefficiency and divert public attention from their failure in keeping the treasury of the Srimandir safe.

Also Read: Truck Mows Down Several School Children In Bhadrak

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Mahesh Prasad, Ex-Students' Union President, Utkal University