Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jan 18:
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON)’s plan to construct a Jagannath temple in Odisha’s holy city Puri-the seat of Lord Jagannath has stirred a hornet’s nest.
Senior BJP leader Bijay Mohapatra Monday termed ISKCON’s plan as a conspiracy aimed at destroying Jagannath dharma, Odisha’s age old tradition and custom.
“After the Nabakalebara fiasco, yet another fiasco of much greater dimension is going to happen. ISKCON has planned to construct another Jagannath temple at Puri on land measuring 52,000 sq ft. I understand it’s a big conspiracy to destroy our age old traditions and customs,” alleged Mohapatra at a press conference here.
“Some people have knowingly hatched this conspiracy. There has been never an instance of another Jagannath temple at Puri. It has never happened in the last 500 years nor can it happen in the coming 500 years. Those who have planned it have committed the gravest crime,” stated the BJP leader.
The project proposal of the proposed Jagannath temple by ISKCON is now with the Puri Konark Development Authority (PKDA) and the state government, he added.
“The government should announce in clear terms that it won’t allow permission for construction of another Jagannath temple near Lord Jagannath’s Shree Mandir at Puri. Such clear announcement should be made by the government,” Mohapatra demanded.
He said if the government has given its permission for the same it should immediately withdraw it.
“This move of the ISKCON will be opposed by Gobardhan peeth Shankaracharya, Gajapati Maharaj of Puri, all sevayats and the people of Odisha irrespective of party affiliations,” warned Mohapatra.
“Sentiment of every Odia is attached to Lord Jagannath. There is a conspiracy to obliterate Jagannath culture and I would request Odisha’s Chief Minister and Law Minister not to get involved in the conspiracy. This has nothing to do with politics. If the government fails to take a decision on this issue it will lead to a dangerous situation in the future,” the senior BJP leader cautioned.
Mohapatra suspected involvement of foreign hand in the matter adding that some persons from the state were also involved.
However, he said this off course needs to be investigated adding that things will unfold in the coming days.
Reacting to Mohapatra’s statement BJD spokesperson Samir Dash tried to play safe with the sentimental issue.
“Another Jagannath temple at Puri is not acceptable. Jagannath culture is our identity. Another Jagannath temple cannot come up at Puri. It’s not acceptable to me and I feel it will be also not acceptable to the government,” said Dash.
Notably, ISKCON has prepared a project report for construction of a Jagannath temple at Puri on 52,000 sq ft of land. According to the project report, the proposed temple has been planned at a distance of 2.5 KM from Shree Mandir, 4.5 KM from Bata Mangala temple and 200mts from the sea. Bhumi poojan for the project has been completed in November last year.