PURI, INDIA, August 31, 2019 (Orissa Post): The ongoing eviction drive around the Jagannath Temple in Puri ran into rough weather once again Saturday, with Govardhan Peeth Shankaracharya Swami Nischalananda Saraswati declaring the recommendations of Justice B.P. Das commission illegal. Based on the recommendations of the commission, the Odisha government and the Puri district administration launched an eviction drive a week ago in the area surrounding the temple and all structures within 246 feet of its boundary wall are being cleared. "According to the special power vested on the Shankaracharya, I declare the recommendation of the Das commission illegal," the seer told reporters at Govardhan Peeth in Puri.
The seer expressed displeasure that he was not consulted by the judicial panel before submitting its report on temple reforms to the state government, which had accepted the recommendations. He also did not approve the function of the Supreme Court-appointed amicus curiae on the reforms in the 12th-century shrine. The seer said the Shankaracharya should be consulted on religious and spiritual matters. "How can the Chief Minister, law minister or administrators take decision on religious and spiritual mater?" he asked. Underlining that Puri is first a spiritual place and then a place for tourism, he suggested the state government to undertake reforms in the holy town and temple from the religious and spiritual point of view and not for the comfort and luxury of the tourists visiting the place.