Ahmedabad: A controversy erupted on Tuesday after authorities of a Surat-based Swaminarayan temple dressed up the idol of Lord Swaminarayan in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh uniform.
The issue came to light after a picture, in which Lord Swaminarayan can be seen donning the Sangh outfit — white shirt tucked into a baggy khaki shorts with black cap and black shoes on — went viral on various social media platforms.
The idol is also seen holding the national flag in one hand.
According to Swami Vishwaprakashji of the temple, which is situated in Laskana area of Surat, the dress was gifted by a local devotee a few days back.
“We have a common practice of presenting the God’s idol in various dresses. This RSS uniform was given to us by a devotee. We do not have any other agenda. We did not know that it will create a controversy,” Vishwaprakashji said.
Even as the temple authorities denied having any intention of endorsing the views of the right-wing organisation, Congress condemned the move.
Senior Congress leader Shankersinh Vaghela said temple authorities must refrain from such activities.
“What do you want to prove by dressing up the god in khaki shorts? I pity those who have done that. Today, you have dressed the Lord in RSS uniform, tomorrow you will dress the idol in BJP’s uniform. This is very unfortunate,” Vaghela said.
When asked about the incident, Gujarat BJP president Vijay Rupani also said that it should not have been done.
“I am really surprised! If at all it was done, I don’t approve of it,” said Rupani.