Covid-19: BJP stages protests seeking reopening of temples in Maharashtra
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Maharashtra staged protests across the state on Tuesday demanding reopening of temples amid coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak.
BJP workers gathered in large numbers and staged protests in front of temples in Mumbai and other parts of the state. They also criticised the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) coalition government, comprising the Shiv Sena, the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), and alleged that the latter could reopen restaurants and bars despite the contagion, but not temples.
BJP workers shouted slogans against the state government while flouting the protocol to maintain social distancing that has been enforced because of the viral outbreak.
The agitations were reported from some of the prominent temples in the state such as Siddhivinayak temple at Prabhadevi in Mumbai; Sai Baba temple in Shirdi; Tambdi Jogeshwari temple in Pune; and Vitthal Rakhumai Temple in Pandharpur.
At the Siddhivinayak temple, the BJP supporters performed a symbolic aarti in front of the shrine. “The state government has reopened restaurants, bars and wine shops but it is not allowing the temples to reopen. They are playing with the sentiments of the devotees,” alleged BJP’s Pravin Darekar, who is also the leader of the opposition in the Maharashtra state legislative council.
He blamed the government for non-compliance of social distancing norms, as he alleged that the latter was responsible for inciting the public to take to the streets.
At the Tambdi Jogeshwari temple, the BJP made a person dress up as Kumbhakarna, who could be seen sleeping on a road.
The BJP likened the Uddhav Thackeray-led government to Kumbhakarna and asked the state authorities to accede to their demand of reopening temples.
On Sunday, chief minister Uddhav Thackeray had said that the government was cautious in reopening temples because of the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic. He had stated it was the responsibility of the state government to ensure the safety of the public unlike his political rivals.
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