Shankaracharya fumes at govt ‘interference’

Bhubaneswar: Irked over the decision of the State Government to appoint Suresh Mahapatra as the chief administrator of the Sri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA), Puri Shankaracharya Swami Nischalananda Saraswati today alleged that it is the government’s conspiracy not to involve him in any of the temple matters.

Addressing a media conference here, the seer directly pointed the finger at chief minister Naveen Patnaik and Law minister Arun Kumar Sahoo and alleged that the latter have appointed an official to look after the SJTA affairs overlooking his position.

The Govardhan Peetha pontiff said, “I don’t think that an officer can have so much of guts to challenge me or question me ‘who I am’. They are weak… always in fear of losing their job any moment. So, I believe the chief minister and the Law minister of our State is behind this conspiracy.”

Terming the State interference in the SJTA matters a “conspiracy to bring down the legacy of our rich culture”, he said, “There should be a limit… where to draw the line. The government should understand that there is law which is clear as to where and how the State can interfere in the issues of a religious institution.”

The Swami also alleged that the government is trying to create rift between him and the Daitapatis.

Answering a question, he right away dismissed the decision of not allowing devotees for ‘Nabajoubana darshan’. He said, “The decision is not right. They cannot thrust any decision on the public like this.” Rather the State should perform its duty as far as making security arrangements and providing civic amenities are concerned during such occasions, he pointed out.