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Controversy hots up over Badrinath Shankaracharya

DEHRA DUN, APRIL 5. The ongoing tussle over the control of prestigious Jyotirmath in Badrinath has flared up with Shankaracharya Madhavashram today asserting that he enjoyed the support of Kashi Vidwat Parishad in his claim as the head of the `math'.

Countering the claims of two other Shankaracharyas Swami Vasudevananda and Swami Swaroopanand who have also affirmed themselves as heads of the `math,' Swami Madhavashram cited a letter of support from the the Kashi Vidwat Parishad, a prestigious body of Hindu intellectuals in Varansi.

Swami Madhavashram's comments assume significance in the light of recent assertion by Swami Vasudevanand that he is the ``real'' Shankaracharya of Jyotirpeeth. He had also filed an FIR with the Joshimath police station of Chamoli district charging the supporters of Swami Swaroopanand with theft of ornaments and other valuables belonging to Poornadevi temple in Jyotirpeeth.

The controversy over Jyotirmath hotted up on February 16 this year when the Chamoli district administration declared a lockout on its premises apparently to oust Swami Vasudevanand, who presently controls the seat of Shankracharya. However, buckling under the pressure of political parties, the district administration restored the seat of Jyotirpeeth back to Swami Vasudevanand on March 1 despite Swami Swaroopanand's opposition. Meanwhile, supporters of Swami Swaroopanand -- who is also Shankracharya of Dwarka Shardapeeth -- have described the theft charges as politically motivated.

PTI

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