Bhubaneswar: A four-member delegation from Punjab has urged Odisha Governor Ganeshi Lal to prevent the state government from demolishing centuries-old mutts around the Jagannath temple at Puri.
The delegation comprising human rights activist Jagmohan Singh, conservationist Anil Dhir, advocates Sukhvinder Kaur and Gurmeet Singh met the governor on Monday and sought his intervention to stop demolition of Mangu Mutt, Punjabi Mutt and a portion of the Bauli Sahib Mutt and Gurdwara adjacent to the temple.
“While the Sikh world is reverberating with religious functions, seminars, Nagar Kirtans (a Sikh custom involving the processional singing of holy hymns) and programmes to mark the 550 years of the birth of Guru Nanak Sahib on November 12, 2019, it would be hugely embarrassing for the Odisha Government and deeply hurt the sentiments of the Sikh community,” they said in a memorandum to the governor.
The delegation also sought the opening of a Guru Nanak Corridor tracing the footsteps of Guru Nanak in Odisha. Earlier, the state government had launched an eviction drive within 75 metres from the boundary wall of the 12th century shrine in Puri for ensuring safety and security of the temple. In the eviction process, century-old Emar Mutt, Bada Akhada Mutt and Nanguli Mutt have already been razed. The government’s decision to demolish both the Mangu Mutt and the Punjabi Mutt as they fall within the 75 metres radius of the Jagannath Temple has evoked protests from Sikhs worldwide, they said in the letter.
Teams from the Delhi Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee and the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee had protested the state’s government’s decision. “These monuments are the heritage of the golden period of Odisha history. The mutts are the witnesses of our past glory and grandeur. They are the proven records of antiquity, but have fallen victims to the neglect of the owners, caretakers, rendering them unsafe,” the memorandum said.
“The connection between Sikhism and the Jagannath Temple goes back to more than 500 years ago when Guru Nanak Dev Ji visited the holy temple to spread the message of Ek Onkar, (one supreme reality),” said Jagmohan Singh, who came from Punjab to meet the governor.