National

Row breaks out over Sai Baba’s birthplace

The town is in the news following objections raised by the locals against a reported statement by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray that Pathri village was Sai Baba’s actual birthplace

The town is in the news following objections raised by the locals against a reported statement by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray that Pathri village was Sai Baba’s actual birthplace   | Photo Credit: PTI

As locals give call for an indefinite bandh, authorities have said that the temple will remain open

The Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust has said the temple dedicated to 19th-century saint Sai Baba in Shirdi, Maharashtra, will remain open despite a call for an indefinite bandh from January 19 by a section of local citizens.

The temple town is in the news following objections raised by the local citizens against a reported statement by Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray that Pathri village in Parbhani was Sai Baba’s actual birthplace.

Open for darshan

“On behalf of the trust, I would like to inform devotees that despite the call for bandh from local citizens, the temple will be open for darshan. Even accommodation and other facilities will remain open,” said chairman of the Saibaba Sansthan Trust Shirdi, Suresh Haware.

Deepak Muglikar, chief executive officer of the trust, said the daily aarti and rituals would continue even on January 19. “Thereafter the facilities extended from the Sansthan, including Prasadalaya, Bhakt Niwas and hospital would function regularly.”

Earlier this week, the Chief Minister announced a ₹100 crore grant for the development of Pathri to attract pilgrims and tourists.

The BJP has hit back at the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government saying the Chief Minister should immediately withdraw the statement made that is not historically substantiated. Former Minister and senior BJP leader Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil said the claims over Sai Baba’s birthplace had been made in the past as well. But why was the statement being made now with the intention of hurting the sentiments of lakhs of devotees, he wondered.

‘False claims’

Mr. Vikhe-Patil’s son Sujay, BJP MP, said he would go to court to prove the claims were false. “By raking up the issue of Sai Baba’s birthplace again and again the feelings of lakhs of people of Shirdi and devotees the world over are being hurt. Earlier, a former President too had made a similar statement. 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,” he said.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 12:00:32 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/row-breaks-out-over-sai-babas-birthplace/article30595993.ece

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