Day-long Shirdi Bandh to Be Called Off after Midnight, Says Sena MP; Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray to Convene Meeting Tomorrow
The Shirdi town shutdown call was issued after Thackeray reportedly said that Pathri village in Parbhani was the birthplace of the 19th century saint revered equally by people of all communities.
Image for representation. (Image: PTI)
Shirdi: A day-long bandh observed on Sunday in Shirdi following a row over the birthplace of Saibaba will be called off after midnight.
Apart from Shirdi, Sunday's bandh was also observed in at least 25 villages around the temple town.
The announcement was made by Shiv Sena MP from Shirdi, Sadashiv Lokhande, after a meeting with locals on Sunday evening. He said Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has convened a meeting in Mumbai on Monday to discuss the issue.
Leaders representing the Shirdi residents said the decision to call off the shutdown was taken at a 'gram sabha' on Sunday evening. But they warned that if the meeting with Thackeray fails to bring a satisfactory solution, an aggressive protest will be launched.
Representatives from Pathri and Shirdi, BJP MLA Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, Lokhade and the Shirdi temple trust CEO will attend the meeting called by Thackeray.
The shutdown call was issued after Thackeray reportedly said that Pathri village in Parbhani was the birthplace of the 19th century saint revered equally by people of all communities. He also announced a special grant of Rs 100 crore for the development of Pathri to attract pilgrims and tourists there.
Pathri is located nearly 273 km from Shirdi in Ahmednagar district.
Former trustee of the temple, Kailash Kote, said if the outcome of the meeting is not satisfactory, Shirdi residents will protest aggressively. He said that about 500 locals were present at the gram sabha.
Another former trustee, Sachin Tambe Patil, said the bandh will be called off after Sunday midnight.
"Since the meeting is scheduled tomorrow at 2 pm, we decided to call off the bandh. If the outcome is not satisfactory for us, we will decide the future course of action," he said.
On Sunday morning, a rally was taken out by devotees of Saibaba and locals around the Shirdi temple. However, the temple remained open throughout the day, with no report of devotees facing any inconvenience even as shops and eateries downed their shutters and vehicles remained off roads.
The devotees were allowed to offer prayers at the temple and residents of Shirdi provided food and water for those visiting the shrine, officials of the temple trust and Ahmednagar district administration said.
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