Clashes between rationalists and ritualists broke out in Bhubaneswar and Berhampur after the former organised a biryani feast during lunar eclipse on Tuesday.
Earlier also, the rationalists had organised a similar biryani feast during solar eclipse. Several Hindu leaders, including the Puri Shankaracharya, had strongly opposed it.
Challenging the ritualists, the rationalists openly declared that they are going to have a similar feast on lunar eclipse on Tuesday.
The first incident was reported from Berhampur where the rationalists organised a community feast to give a message to the society that anyone can eat anything on solar or lunar eclipse, as per scientific belief.
They said the feast was organised to make people aware of scientific thinking and prevent them from following superstitious beliefs.
Tension erupted when a group of ritualists reached the spot to oppose the move. As the situation turned ugly, the police resorted to lathi charge.
Similar situation also occurred at the Lohia Academy here over food consumption during the lunar eclipse. When the rationalists were organising the feast, members of the Bajrang Dal reached the spot and opposed the consumption of cooked food during lunar eclipse, which is an age-old belief in Hindu tradition.
“We believe in science. We don’t believe in superstitions. As they cannot prove anything through science, they have come here to attack us,” alleged Bhalachandra Sarangi, a rationalist.
If they have anything to prove, the ritualists should come forward for a healthy debate, said another rationalist.
Kameswar Tripathy, President of all Odisha temple servitors’ association, said, “They are acting against our tradition by hosting a biryani festival on lunar eclipse. We strongly oppose such moves by the rationalists.”