Shankaracharya row: Javadekar, JB disapprove state govt's role

Bhubaneswar, July 4: The row over the Puri Shankaracharya boycotting Rath Yatra protesting restrictions put by administration snowballed into a major controversy today with two Union ministers and the Assam Governor disapproving of state government's interference in the religious matter.

Puri Shankaracharya Swami Nischalananda Saraswati on June 29 refrained from visiting the chariots before they were pulled on the Rath Yatra day.

"The age old tradition of the Puri Shankaracharya visiting the chariots before their pulling has been broken. This is not acceptable," Assam Governor and former Odisha Chief Minister J B Patnaik said.

"In a secular country, the government should not interfere in the religious matters of any community," Union Information and Broadcasting minister Prakash Javadekar said. The Union Minister gave his reaction over the dispute after paying Darshan of the Lord Jagannath at Puri.

"Conventions and traditions must be observed in religious matters," Javadekar said. Asked whether he would meet the Shankaracharya, Javadekar said, "Not this time. I have to leave Puri due to other engagements. I will meet the seer some time later".

Meanwhile, Union Tribal Affairs minister Jual Oram demanded a thorough investigation into the entire episode and action against those responsible for break of traditions.

"It is unfortunate that the state government is yet to hold talks with the Shankaracharya even though the controversy is rocking the state," he said.


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