An Open Letter to Sri Karunanidhi, Chief Minister, Tamil Nadu

via http://www.kanchiforum.org/ published on October 21, 2006

Open Letter to Sri Karunanidhi, Chief Minister, Tamil Nadu
Dr. Jagan Kaul and Krishan Bhatnagar
October 20, 2006.


Subject: Shankaracharya’s arrest is the result of outright vindictiveness, vendetta, abuse of power and contempt for Hindu India.


This case should be withdrawn and His Holiness exonerated;


Hon’ble Chief Minister Karunanidhi,


This urgent representation is being submitted to seek your immediate action in the case of HH Swami Jayendra Shankaracharya’s arrest on 11/11 (November 11, 2004) on concocted murder charges, on the holiest night of Diwali. The ultra-legal action by the state authorities as has been confirmed universally was the result of political vendetta, abuse of power and contempt for the Hindu India. Accordingly, it has grievously hurt the religious sentiments, pride and feelings of the Hindus community worldwide. This shameful act by the authorities constitutes a frontal attack by anti- Hindu, anti- India forces against the traditionally tolerant Hindus who were instrumental in maintaining national unity and keeping the country together through centuries of treacherous foreign rule, partitions and now murderous Islamic terrorism. To Hindus, HH Shankaracharya is an icon, an institution and the top most Hindu seer – like the Pope for Catholics, who is accorded public and state honors worldwide.


The fact that this case had to be transferred out of the state in search of a fair trial and justice speaks volumes about the prevalent political vindictiveness in the state. In the collective wisdom of the Hindu intelligentsia the control of Hindu temples and endowments violating a secular Constitution and the arrest of the supreme Hindu leader are obvious moves to contain, disrupt and demolish Hinduism, while the Islamic and Christian religious remain free from the suffocating Govt. tentacles.


Ms. J Jayalalithaa, the former CM, told the Tamil Nadu assembly on November 17, 2004 – that “the Tamil Nadu police have shocking but solid information on the links of Kanchi Shankaracharya Jayendra Saraswathi with the murderers of Sankararaman”. She broke her silence on the seer’s arrest by making a suo motu statement. It is almost two years since, but the TN Govt. has miserably failed to provide any credible evidence to prove the charges against the Hindu leader. The officials have shown little or no respect for the fact that “justice delayed is justice denied.”


The following grounds establish without a doubt that in this imbroglio the central underlying motive was a religio-political conspiracy. His Holiness has been



  1. a thorn in the flesh of evangelists, and he was furious on Jayalalitha’s withdrawal of the anti-conversion law following her rout in the Lok Sabha elections. Days before his arrest, he had also
  2. railed against the Endowments Act whereby government gained control over temples.
  3. He supported the demand for removal of non-believers from temple managements and wanted
  4. use of temple finances for purely Hindu religious causes (i.e., funds from Hindu temples should not subsidize the Haj and Church construction and maintenance). The fulfillment of these demands would have spun the official erroneous policy out of the orbit and down the drain.

Former President R Venkataraman sought a probe into the arrest of Kanchi Shankaracharya. He said that the inquiry should unearth if ‘private grievance’ was the motive for the treatment meted out to the seer; and if there was any ‘ulterior motive’ behind the Hindu leader’s arrest. It may be recalled that the HH happened to be the 69th head of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetha, which has at least 2000 years of shining and untarnished history.


The Kanchi Shankaracharya is the foremost spiritual leader of the Hindu faith. Among the four mutts set up by Adi Shankaracharya, who is credited with reviving the Hindu religion in medieval India, the Kanchi Peeth is the most revered. Others include the Dwarka, Badrinath and Puri Peeth. The Shankaracharya was also in the news as his devotees include the who’s who among the politicians and industrialists. President APJ Abdul Kalam was among the distinguished crowd.


His Holiness’s arrest is suppression of Hindus Human Rights of religious freedom: It is a case of premeditated arrest to hurt an institution and trying to find supportive evidence and witnesses after the fact. The practice of detailing innocent people without grounds is conceivable only in totalitarian states and not in free and democratic polities. Clearly the TN establishment seems to have removed that distinction between the two. On the other hand the elected Muslim officials & their supporters and even the J&K Chief Minister in their nationwide campaign warn of serious repercussions should a noted criminal like Afzal, the convicted terrorist, not be granted clemency. Doesn’t it convey a clear message to Hindus that until and unless they become Jihadists by extension as Maoists or Naxalites their culture and religion could not be saved.


Kanchi Shankaracharya and Kanchi Mutt are Hindu icons. He is like an Emperor in the religious domain and living an ascetic life he could do no wrong. He has the same status in the Hindu society as the Holy Pope amongst Catholics.


“A Shankaracharya is not made in a day. From the day of initiation during the early childhood, it takes at least two decades of rigorous training in philosophy and other branches of religion to make an Acharya of a mutt like Kanchi. “The present HH is a revolutionary saint who intensely worked among the people, in the Dalit bastis. He pronounced against castes, declaring that chaturvarna had no Vedic sanction. He trained Dalit youth in temple duties, rituals and declared them archakas giving them the sacred thread.” He is pious and unassuming so much so that when in jail, he advised everyone to pray, and while in court asked the judge if he could sit down.


The real intention behind the HH’s arrest was to humiliate the most visible, revered, and respectable Hindu religious leader in the country and administer a devastating blow to Hinduism: Whatever the reasons for the unbecoming official misbehavior, the govt. could have handled this case with a little more sensitivity and finesse. There was no reason to humiliate this highly spiritual person. Blinded by the spirit of animosity and vindictiveness while abusing the official power and authority, two additional yet frivolous cases were registered against him to deny his release on bail.


Historically the Sankaracharyas live totally spartan lives and have no need for money or material possessions. Then why on earth would the Sankaracharya order the murder of an accountant? Such an assumption completely defies logic. The fact that the Swami was kept locked up in the harshest of conditions is clear indication of a political conspiracy at work. So much so that he was denied even courtesy and facilities of a political prisoner.


Sir, It must also be noted that the Supreme Court agreed to transfer the trial to Pondicherry a year ago (attachment A) saying that:
a) there was “reasonable apprehension” that the accused will not get justice in Tamil Nadu;
b) found that the Tamil Nadu Government was showing “interest in securing the conviction of the Seer and halting the religious activities of the Mutt.” ; and
c) that affidavits and the documents placed on record conclusively establish that a serious attempt had been made by the State machinery to implicate lawyers even remotely connected with the defense of the accused.


The court further commented that “It leads to an inference that the State machinery is not only interested in securing conviction of the petitioner (Seer) and other co-accused but also bringing to a complete halt the entire religious and other activities of the various trusts and endowments and the performance of pooja and other rituals in the temples and religious places in accordance with the customs and traditions and thereby create a fear psychosis in the minds of the people”, (Attachment A). It is a year since the above comments and strictures by the SC but the TN Govt. has not been able to conclusively prove its case against the defendant. The colossal inability of the Govt. to prove its case against the Hindu leader must be considered an important ground either to dismiss and/or withdraw this case which in the first place was born out of concocted and manufactured accusations.


Hon’ble Chief Minister Karunanidhi, based on the facts, arguments and reasoning stated above we hereby request you to please use your authority as the head of the TN Govt. and throw the charges against the HH into the gutter, where they realistically belong, withdraw the case against HH and set him free. After two years of waiting and trying the patience of the entire Hindu Samaj, that is the only way to meet the ends of justice. The continued incarceration of the Hindu leader without a cause exposes the hollowness of freedom, democracy and rule of law in TN. Your intervention, even at this late stage, could surely help in salvaging the reputation of the Govt. and its sense of justice.


Thank you Mr. Chief Minister and we are looking forward to your prompt action with a notification to this office.


Yours Sincerely,


Dr. Jagan Kaul
Krishan Bhatnagar
Hindu Jagran Forum ( USA)
email: Email address suppressed on this page.
October 19, 2006


 


Attachment to the above letter:


Attachmanet A


SC slams TN Govt, shifts Seer case to Pondicherry


Legal Correspondent / New Delhi
Pioneer, Oct 27, 2005


Passing severe strictures against the Jayalalithaa Government for its handling of the Shankararaman murder case involving the Kanchi Shankaracharya, the Supreme Court on Wednesday shifted the trial to Pondicherry saying that there was “reasonable apprehension” that the accused will not get justice in Tamil Nadu.


Just short of a year after Shankaracharya Jayendra Saraswati’s arrest on Diwali night in Andhra Pradesh, a Bench comprising Chief Justice RC Lahoti and Justice GP Mathur found that the Tamil Nadu Government was showing “interest in securing the conviction of the Seer and halting the religious activities of the Mutt.”


The trial will now be shifted from the Principal Sessions Judge, Chinglepet, to Principal Sessions Judge, Pondicherry, a Union Territory where Tamil is the language of court proceedings.


In a virtual balancing act, the court conceded the Seer’s plea for transfer of the case outside Tamil Nadu, but also yielded to the State’s request that if at all it should be shifted, the trial should be held in Pondicherry.


The Seer had sought a transfer of the case to Chittoor or nearby areas in Andhra Pradesh.


Delivering the judgement on behalf of the Bench, Justice Mathur said that taking into consideration the entire facts and circumstances of the case both of them had no hesitation in holding that the seer and other co-accused petitioners had a reasonable apprehension that they would not get justice in the State of Tamil Nadu.


The court, however, clarified that “we are casting no reflection on the district judiciary in the State of Tamil Nadu. But it is the actions of the prosecuting agency and the State machinery, which are responsible for creating a reasonable apprehension in the mind of the petitioner and other co-accused that they will not get justice if the trial is held in any place inside the State of Tamil Nadu. We are, therefore, of the opinion that the interest of justice requires that the trial may be transferred to a place outside the State of Tamil Nadu.”


The court said that the material placed on record had satisfied it that various hurdles have been created by the State machinery against the accused persons and criticised the prosecuting agencies for targeting the counsel, including senior advocates, who stood to defend the Sankaracharyas.


“We have discussed above many facets of the case which do show that the State machinery in Tamil Nadu is not only taking an undue interest but is going to any extent in securing the conviction of the accused by any means and to stifle even publication of any article or expression of dissent in media or Press, interview by journalists or persons who have held high positions in public life and are wholly unconnected with the criminal case,” the court said.


Raising a further question mark on the handling of the case by the Tamil Nadu Government, the court said that affidavits and the documents placed on record conclusively establish that a serious attempt had been made by the State machinery to implicate lawyers even remotely connected with the defence of the accused.


“The Superintendent of Police, SIT and police inspector connected with the investigation even went to the extent of prompting approver Ravi Subramaniam to make insinuation against a very senior counsel who has been practicing for over 43 years and is appearing as counsel for the petitioner,” the court said.


“Launching of prosecution against prominent persons who have held high political offices and prominent jour nalists merely because they expressed some dissent against the arrest of the petitioner shows the attitude of the State that it cannot tolerate any kind of dissent which is the most cherished right in a democracy guaranteed by Article 19 of the Constitution,” the court said.


The Court criticised the prosecuting agencies for showing “extra interest” in the case only on the ground that Sankaracharya, who has been chargesheeted in the case for allegedly entering into conspiracy to murder, is the head of the Mutt.


“It leads to an inference that the State machinery is not only interested in securing conviction of the petitioner (Seer) and other co-accused but also bringing to a complete halt the entire religious and other activities of the various trusts and endowments and the performance of pooja and other rituals in the temples and religious places in accordance with the customs and traditions and thereby create a fear psychosis in the minds of the people,” the court said.


The Court said the action of freezing the accounts of the Mutt demonstrated the extent to which the State machinery could go while prosecuting the Seer in the Sankararaman murder case.


 

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