18 November 2019
Bhubaneswar: The issue pertaining to Puri Shankaracharya Swami Nischalananda Sarswati’s surname and account details of the ‘Govardhan Peeth’ is gathering steam. Two days after Congress Legislature Party leader Narasingha Mishra raised objections over non-disclosure of Govardhan Peeth’s financial transactions, the State unit of BJP today took offence in the former’s questions.
The saffron party’s local leaders led by Golak Mohapatra demanded an apology from Mishra saying that ‘he has hurt the sentiments of 4.5 crore Odias’ by seeking details on Govardhan Peeth’s accounts.
On the other hand, Mishra, the former Law Minister and a Congress veteran refused to budge from his stand. “I have not asked for anything classified or inappropriate. My demands were just and I am not going to apologise,” he said.
The issues pertains to a statement issued by Mishra on Saturday in which he cited Form 'F' of the Odisha Hindu Religious Act and Rules, and said that the Govardhan Peeth is bound by the law to furnish the account (transaction) details every year before the Endowment Commissioner, like any other religious institution.
"It is not only me who stressed on this point, the ruling party leaders have also highlighted this matter that the Shankaracharya is bound to furnish his account details officially. I had sought the account details of Govardhan Peetha for the last ten years but the Law Department stated that these details have not been submitted by the institution,” said Mishra.
"Who should be the head of Govardhan Peetha, it all depends on the 'Will' of the Shankaracharya. The previous Shankaracharya had mentioned in his will that his successor has to adopt the surname of 'Debatirtha' otherwise, the person cannot be the 'Shankaracharya'," said Mishra.
"What action has the State Government initiated in this direction? When the Shankaracharya does not identifies himself as 'Debatirtha' istead has chosen 'Saraswati' (the current Puri Shankaracharya's last name), has the State Government taken note of this matter," questioned Mishra.