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Seer's remand: BJP complains to President

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Last updated on: November 19, 2004 20:34 IST

Anguished at Kanchi Shankaracharya Jayendra Saraswati being sent to police custody, BJP leaders led by party president L K Advani and former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Friday made a representation to President A P J Abdul Kalam.

The leaders expressed the party's objection to the Tamil Nadu government's treating the Hindu pontiff like a "convicted person" and "incarcerating" him. The delegation sought suitable guidelines for dealing with cases in which religious personalities and institutions are involved.

Jaswant Singh, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Pramod Mahajan, Murli Manohar Joshi and Suhindra Kulkarni were also part of the team that visited Kalam.

"We are deeply concerned about the manner" in which the Shankaracharya has been arrested and "incarcerated" after allegations of a criminal offence against him, a memorandum submitted by the delegation to the President said.

The party said with due respect to the law of the land, said that it was not commenting on the merits of the case. "However, we share the anguish and sentiments of crores of Hindus of our country," the memorandum said.

"We told the President how the Tamil Nadu government and police were treating the Seer. Under Indian laws a person is assumed to be innocent until proven guilty. But the Tamil Nadu administration and police are treating the Shankaracharya like a criminal whose offence has been proved. We told him that the matter is linked to the sentiments of crores of Hindus in India," Vajpayee told reporters after the meeting.

"President Kalam heard us and assured us that he would look into the matter and do whatever is legally permissible," Advani said.

Onkar Singh in New Delhi