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September 24, 2020

Bandh in Shirdi on Sunday over Uddhav’s remark on Sai Baba’s birthplace

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Locals have called for a shut-down at the temple town of Shirdi in Maharashtra on Sunday over a controversy over the birthplace of Sai Baba, the 19th century spiritual figure.

However, the famous Sai Baba temple in the town will remain open, its trustees said on Saturday.

The temple attracts lakhs of devotees from all over India every year.

Controversy erupted after Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray announced a grant of Rs 100 crore for development of facilities at “Sai janmasthan” (birthplace) at Pathri in Parbhani district.

Pathri is considered to be the birthplace of Sai Baba by some devotees.


But residents of Shirdi claimed that the exact birthplace of the famed saint was not known.

Deepak Mugalikar, chief executive officer of the Shree Sai Baba Sansthan Trust at Shirdi, said the temple will remain open despite the bandh call.

Local Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil said he supported the call for shut-down given by the local people.

“The chief minister should withdraw his statement that Pathri was Sai Baba’s birthplace,” he demanded.

“Pathri only has one of several Sai temples in the country. All Sai devotees are feeling hurt, so this controversy should be ended,” the former state minister said.

Congress leader and former chief minister Ashok Chavan had said on Friday that creation of facilities for devotees at Pathri should not be opposed over the controversy over birthplace.

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