Amidst protest of the main opposition party Congress, the Uttarakhand Char Dham Management bill was passed in the state assembly in Dehradun on Tuesday. With this, the state government will be forming a board to manage Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, Yamunotri and 47 other shrines (total 51) in the hill state. Despite assurance from the Trivendra Rawat government that the government will protect the rights of the stakeholders, the Teerth Purohits have warned of challenging the bill in the court.

Right from the day news about Uttarakhand government forming a bill on lines of the Vaishno Devi Shrine Board and other trusts came into light the Teerth Purohits began staging protest. Even when the winter session of the state assembly was underway in Dehradun the priests of different shrines were agitating and launching protest march in Dehradun.

The Teerth Purohits are protesting under the banner of ‘Char Dham Mahapanchayat’ and on Wednesday they hosted a meeting in Haridwar. Suresh Semwal, the coordinator of Char Dham Mahapanchayat, said, “We have two options only, to agitate and to go to court. We will be doing both. On coming 18 December we will be hosting a rally in Uttarkashi and on 20 December at Srinagar (Garhwal).”

The ‘Char Dham Mahapanchayat’ is also interacting with Hindu spiritual Gurus, Akhadas in Haridwar to get their support. Congress MLA and leader of the opposition Indira Hirdayesh demanded to send the bill to select committee which was rejected.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said, “Uttarakhand Chardham Devsthan Management Board will not only provide better facilities for the devotees coming to Devbhoomi but also help in better management of the pilgrimage centres. The bill also preserves the rights of the Purohits and stakeholders.”

The state government studied the acts of Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, Somnath Trust, Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust, etc before formulating the bill. The bill aims at providing better facilities to the pilgrims and better management of the shrines.