Shirdi calls for shutdown over govt’s announcement of Rs 100cr for Sai Baba ‘birthplace’

Local government officials said the Shirdi temple and all its units comprising Sai Prasadalaya, Sai Hospital, Sai Bhaktaniwas and medical shops won’t be affected by the shutdown.
Maharashtra CM and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, with his wife Rashmi Thackeray, and son Aditya Thackeray at Sai Baba Temple, in Shirdi in October 2018.(PTI File Photo)
Maharashtra CM and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, with his wife Rashmi Thackeray, and son Aditya Thackeray at Sai Baba Temple, in Shirdi in October 2018.(PTI File Photo)
Updated on Jan 18, 2020 01:55 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Pune | ByNadeem Inamdar

Residents of Maharashtra’s Shirdi have called for an indefinite shutdown from Sunday after chief minister Uddhav Thackeray called Pathri in Parbhani as the birthplace of the 19th-century saint Sai Baba and said he will allot Rs 100 crore for its development.

The call for the shutdown in the temple town of Shirdi, famous for Sai Baba’s Samadhi which attracts millions of devotees from across the globe, has been backed by the residents of 25 villages.

A former trustee of Shirdi Sai Sansthan, Kailasbapu Kote, said locals and villagers from the neighbouring areas are upset with chief minister Uddhav Thackeray for referring to Pathri as the birthplace of Sai Baba.

“There is no bonafide proof available to prove the birthplace. Sai Baba himself never shared any information about his birthplace or religion during his stay in Shirdi,” Kote said.

“We will observe an indefinite bandh to send a strong message to the government and the chief minister as it has hurt our sentiments. The entire bandh would be peaceful and aimed at conveying our resentment to the state,” he said.

B Wakchaure of Saibaba Sansthan Trust said a meeting of villagers will be convened on Saturday evening to discuss the issue and decide the future course of action.

Local government officials said the Shirdi temple and all its units comprising Sai Prasadalaya, Sai Hospital, Sai Bhaktaniwas and medical shops won’t be affected by the shutdown.

Private buses will run but public transport vehicles will be off the road, which might create commuting issues for tourists and devotees visiting Shirdi.

State minister Ashok Chavan has welcomed Uddhav Thackeray’s announcement.

“A large number of Sai devouts visit Pathri and the decision to provide funds for the development of Pathri temple is aimed at the development of the area and a welcome step. Sai Bhakts cannot be kept away from development over the issue of the place of birth of Sai Baba,” Chavan, a former chief minister, tweeted in Marathi.

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Thursday, December 02, 2021