Swami Swaroopanand, head priest of the Dwarka Math in Gujarat, on Saturday alleged that the Yogi government “barred” him from participating in the ongoing Magh Mela because “BJP wants to replace Hindu religion’s true leaders with their stooges”. Swaroopanand, who has been fighting a decades-long court battle to establish that he is the head or shankaracharya of the Jyotir Matha in Uttarakhand as well, said the UP government did not allow him space on the mela grounds in an “act of injustice”.
“Officers of the mela did not allow Jyotir Math camp to be set up with me as the shankaracharya unlike every year. This is injustice to me, the head of two of four mathas in the country. This government claims it is dedicated to Hinduism but it is bent on challenging and ill-treating its own Hindu gurus,” he said at his temple premises on the banks of the Yamuna on Saturday.
The Allahabad High Court had last week reserved its judgment over who the head of the Jyotir Math will be. Swaroopanand will have the rare distinction of heading two of the four mathas if he is declared shankaracharya of the Jyotir Math by the court. A senior Mela official said, “Arrangements are made for all Hindu seers. No one has been stopped from participating.”
Vidyanand, one of Swaroopanand’s disciples, also said that no one has officially barred the 92-year-old shankaracharya from the Mela grounds, especially since he is already the Dwarka Math head and therefore entitled to space on the grounds. However, he added, “Swaroopanand ji has not been formally asked to set up his seat as the Jyotir math shankaracharya by the government through the officers overseeing the Mela arrangements.”
Swaroopanand, also denouncing the renaming of the Ardh Kumbh, alleged that BJP has been trying to silence the “true” representatives of Hinduism like himself, so that it can “replace” Sanathan Dharm, the core philosophy behind Hinduism, with its “own brand of Hindutva”.