Swami Avimukteshwaranand, who had led Monday’s Anyay Pratikar Yatra in Varanasi and has been named in the FIR registered in connection with the violence that occurred during the event, on Thursday said sadhus will move Supreme Court against the Allahabad High Court banning immersion of idols in the Ganga.
He also assured all help to the administration in identifying the culprits involved in the violence while maintaining that he was ready for any police action. This comes on a day when five more persons were arrested in connection with the arson and rioting that took place at Godaulia Chowk in Varanasi on October 5.
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Avimukteshwaranand, meanwhile, clarified that he was not starting any new initiative by the name of ‘Ganga Dal’. “We are always there for Ganga. Our initiative, Ganga Sewa Abhiyanam, is already in place. This talk about Ganga Dal began in response to a question from a journalist from The Indian Express, who wanted to know which party I belonged to,” he said.
A ‘Dharma Sansad’, in which shankaracharyas are likely to participate, will be held soon to take a further call on the issue of immersion of idols. “Our scriptures guide us about how to install a statue, how to worship it and how to immerse it. So, a meeting is required to take a considered decision on the issue. We are also seeking to approach the Supreme Court,” said Avimukteshwaranand.
He insisted that Godaulia Chowk be now called Sri Ganesh Chowk in the wake of the lathicharge on sadhus and devotees on September 22-23, following a nearly 30-hour blockade over the immersion of a Ganesha idol in the Ganga. Avimukteshwaranand and Mahant Balak Das, besides others, were injured in the lathicharge. Monday’s Anyay Pratikar Yatra was held in response to this.
On being named as an accused in the FIR lodged into Monday’s violence, Avimukteshwaranand said: “The morning after the incident, I was about to leave for Delhi to meet some Supreme Court lawyers regarding the immersion issue. However, I was told that I have been named in an FIR. I decided to cancel my programme and stayed back in Varanasi. So far, nobody has contacted me. I am here till Friday afternoon. I have done no wrong. But if the police thinks I am at fault, I am ready for any action.”
When contacted, Varanasi SSP Akash Kulhari said that five more persons have been arrested in connection with the October 5 incident. “They have been identified from photographs and CCTV footage. Further efforts to arrest more accused are on,” he said.
Asked why police were not arresting Avimukteshwaranand, Kulhari said: “We are aware of his activities. We are focusing on catching the culprits who indulged in violence. His role is also under scanner.”