Puri Shankaracharya Swami Adhokshjanand Devtirath on Thursday said that he would go to Varanasi to ask religious leaders to oppose Narendra Modi, whom he held responsible for the 2002 riots in Gujarat.
Speaking to reporters in New Delhi, the Shankaracharya claimed that Modi was trying to mislead the people in Varanasi from where he is contesting the Lok Sabha elections. "A 'naami gunhegaar' (noted criminal) is contesting from Varanasi and I will be there to expose him," the Shankaracharya said, adding that those "who divided people to come to power should be exposed."
He said that he would not campaign for any particular party but just wanted that secular parties should win. "He has committed sins and no justice loving person can ever like him," the Shankaracharya said.
"Only a few months after Modi took over as Gujarat Chief Minister people had lost their lives in that state...Modi is responsible for a massacre of humans," the Shankaracharya alleged, adding that he had himself gone to Gujarat and had witnessed the situation after the 2002 riots.
He also accused RSS of using religion to mislead the people and said the outfit should come to the fore as a political organisation rather than a social-cultural body. The Shankaracharya said that BJP leaders are issuing statements which are creating tension in the country.
Shankaracharya, who was speaking at the residence of SP MP Chaudhary Munavver Saleem, also said the restrictions imposed on Azam Khan by the Election Commission should be lifted.
When asked about Muzaffarnagar riots, the Shankracharya allged that the Gujarat riots could not be compared with what had happened in other states as senior officials in the western state had a role in the violance.
He said that winning of elections did not mean that sins are forgiven. Saleem said unlike Gujarat, the UP government had done its best to stop the riots in Muzaffarnagar.