SHIRDI: One of the most popular shrines in the country-Shirdi-has been pulled into a controversy by the Maharashtra government, when it announced to develop Pathri village in Parbhani, which is believed to be the birthplace of Shirdi Sai Baba.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said that the government wants to develop Pathri with Rs.100 crores, which irritated villagers of Shirdi, where Sai Baba spent about 60 years in the 19 Century.
Immediately after the announcement by CM Thackeray, the villagers of Shirdi and other 50 villages nearby have unanimously made a decision to observe indefinite bandh from tomorrow, Sunday. However, the report further said that Shirdi temple and all its units like the Sai Prasadalaya, Sai Hospital, Sai Bhaktaniwas and the local medical shops exempted from bandh.
"We have announced to close Shirdi against rumours from January 19. A meeting of villagers will be convened Saturday evening to discuss the issue. Devotees will not face any difficulty if they come to Shirdi," B Wakchaure of Saibaba Sansthan Trust was quoted as saying by news agency ANI. The local residents are reportedly upset with Thackeray's announcement and have sought an explanation from the chief minister.
"The locals are unhappy with Thackeray for describing Pathri as the birthplace of Sai Baba. There is no document available about Sai Baba's birthplace. Sai Baba himself never shared any information about his birthplace or religion during his stay in Shirdi," Kailas Bapu Khote, former trustee of Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust.
Nitin Kote, a local resident who is spearheading the stir has said that the peaceful agitation would continue till the CM clears his stand on the issue. "It could be possible that Thackeray was briefed wrongly on the issue," he was quoted as saying.
Speaking about the move, a devotee of Sai baba, Nageshwar Rao from Andhra Pradesh has urged the state government to invest the proposed Rs 100 crore for the improvement in services at Shirdi itself rather than building a temple in Parbhani.
Watch what he has to say:
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