Shankaracharya Swaroopanand Saraswati sees red after exclusion from Ram temple trust

Two days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced formation of a trust for the construction of Ram Temple in Ayodhya, the matter has stirred up controversy after Madhya Pradesh-based seer Shankaracharya Swaroopanand Saraswati, who has been a part of the decades-old temple movement, took umbrage at the exclusion of his name from the panel.

Swaroopanand Saraswati's disciple Avimukteshwaranand on Friday also threatened to move the court if the government doesn't make any amendments.

Shankaracharya Swaroopanand Saraswati of Sharda Peeth and Jyotishpeeth here has objected to inclusion of Vasudevanand Saraswati who has been named as the Shankaracharya of Jyotish peeth, while the Supreme Court has earlier recognised Swaroopanand as the Shankaracharya of the Jyotish peeth.

In a statement, Swaroopanand Saraswati said: "I am the Shankaracharya of Jyotish Peeth. The Prime Minister by nominating another person as Shankaracharya of Jyotish Peeth has disobeyed the Supreme Court which even refused to consider Vasudevanand a sanyasi.

The seer who is based in this Madhya Pradesh town said that the Supreme Court has in four rulings refused to acknowledge Vasudevanand as Shankaracharya.

"If Shankaracharya was really to be associated with the trust he should have been named to preside over the trust instead of Parasaran, the advocate for Ramjanmabhoomi land case. He has been made the office of the chairman of the trust and his residence. Parasaran is a senior advocate of the country and a Jurist of repute... The government seems to be keen to build the Ram temple in Ayodhya as per the secular constitution and not according to Vedic provisions," he said in a statement.

Shankaracharya said a Ramalaya Trust was formed in the 1990s for the construction of Ram temple in the conference of the four Shankaracharyas, which included other representatives including Shankaracharyas, Vaishnavacharyas, representatives of the Akharas. This trust was built for the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya but the Central government has ignored a working trust while setting up a new trust, he said.

Swami Swaroopanand said a Scheduled Caste person included in the trust belongs to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad. Besides, some officials have been appointed by the government, in gross violation of the Constitution. Any trust that includes a government functionary who cannot be responsible for the construction of a shrine, he contended.

Former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Uma Bharati, who belongs to the Lodhi caste wants an OBC member in the trust. Former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Kalyan Singh, is also a contender as an OBC. He was the Chief Minister when Babri Mosque was pulled down.

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