BHUBANESWAR, INDIA, September 1, 2019 (Hindustan Times): The ongoing demolition drive of mutts and other commercial structures around the 246-foot perimeter of Jagannath temple in Puri has taken a political turn with the Shankaracharya of Govardhan Peeth Swami Nischalananda Saraswati and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party lashing out at the BJD government over the drive. Since August 27, the Puri district administration is on a demolition spree of old structures within 246 foot radius of the 12th century temple after a committee headed by retired judge of Orissa High Court BP Das recommended the removal of such structures early this year. The district administration began by demolishing the Languli Mutt, a 14th century Hindu monastery of Dasanami cult, and on Friday it followed up with demolition of 12th century Emar Math belonging to the Ramanujacharya sect and one of the oldest Hindu monasteries of Puri.
According to officials familiar with the demolition drive, a dozen such Hindu monasteries around the temple are set to be demolished in the coming days. About a week ago, chief minister Naveen Patnaik had approved the demolition drive urging people to cooperate to ensure security of the Jagannath temple. "Odias made tremendous sacrifice for the safety of Jagannath temple and the presiding Deities. Our tradition is centered around Jagannath culture. But global terrorism is a big challenge. Terror groups are targeting religious institutions. So, it is imperative to implement various security related suggestions in the temple," said Patnaik, defending the demolition while announcing a US$69.5 million mega plan to turn the holy town of Puri into a World Heritage City.
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