Friday, August 23, 2013

Don't allow VHP's political yatra: Shankaracharya to CM

LUCKNOW: In a fresh twist to the government ban on the 84-kosi yatra of the VHP, Shankaracharya of Govardhan Peeth in Mathura, Swami Adokhshajanand Teerth Saraswati, has written to chief minister Akhilesh Yadav asking him to ensure that the Sangh Pariwar was not given the permission to turn this "illegal" yatra into a "political" yatra.

The Shankaracharyas' letter, a copy of which is with TOI, refers to VHP's international president Ashok Singhal as a politically motivated individual who brings a bad name to the entire Hindu community. It also alludes to VHP and its activities as those of an organised gang. It reads, "By giving undue importance to such persons and organisations, the state government's own prestige stands dented. All such political attempts should be foiled in the interest of communal harmony."

Speaking to TOI, Adokshajanand said, "The VHP's attempt to disturb the prevailing communal harmony is a cause of major concern. The political outfit is using a religious issue -- the Ram Mandir -- to divide the nation on religious grounds. This should not be allowed."

The shankaracharya also alleged financial foul play, on Thursday, saying the Vishwa Hindu Parishad had used the Ram temple issue to amass funds to further the party's political interests. "Hindu devotees are being fooled by the VHP into giving donations meant for the construction of the Ram temple. Registered under the Societies Act, it has sought exemption from paying income tax. Now, they are claiming paucity of funds. They should be asked to furnish detailed accounts," he said.

Meanwhile, in Allahabad on Thursday, Singhal kept up his attempt to garner support for the proposed yatra. Maintaining that the VHP would continue with its plan despite the government ban, Singhal also accused SP leader Azam Khan of "flaring up the issue". "Our talks with SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav were held in the most cordial and peaceful manner. However, things reached a flashpoint only after Azam entered the scene and adopted a policy of confrontation and the government was forced to buckle under the pressure of vote bank politics," he said.

Singhal also said he had met with PM Manmohan Singh before seeking an audience with Mulayam. The PM, he said, had asked VHP to postpone the yatra in the wake of the threat from China and Pakistan. According to the existing plan saints will begin assembling at Paraspur in Ayodhya from August 25.

On Thursday, a PIL was also registered at the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court, asking for the state government to lift the ban on the yatra.