Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) on Sunday strongly reacted to restriction imposed by the Orissa government and the Sri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) on the climbing of chariots during rathyatra by Swami Nischalananda Saraswati, the Jagadguru Shankar-acharya of Puri Gobardhan Peeth.
The RSS and VHP, in separate statements, threatened to take to agitation unless the government came out with an apology to the religious leader. In a strongly-worded statement, the secretary of the Srikshetra unit of the VHP Pramod Kumar Dash threatened to launch an agitation if the SJTA, an agency of the state government, did not apologise for “insulting” the Shankaracharya and thereby causing a deep sense of hurt among crores of Hindus.
Terming the Sri Jagannath Temple Administration’s letter to the Puri seer asking him to visit the chariots all alone without his assistants as an “irresponsible” and “arrogant” act, Mr Dash asked the temple administration to apologise to the Shankaracharya at the earliest. He said as per the record of rights, the Shankaracharya is the chief adviser and superviser of the Sri Jagannath temple in all religious matters.
“Like the Gajapati, who visits the chariots along with his team of assistants, the Shankaracharya too is accompanied by his disciples when he visits the deities,” Mr Dash said.“The Sanatani Hindus will not allow anyone to diminish the authority of the institution of the Shankaracharya,” he said while threatening that the VHP would not hesitate to take to agitation if the government and SJTA do not mend their ways.
RSS member Sameer Kumar Mohanty asked the state administration to apologise to the Puri seer for “overstepping” their jurisdiction and imposing restrictions on his customary visit to the chariots during rathyatra