New Delhi, Oct 13 : The war of words between Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari and the state government headed by Chief Minister Udhav Thakre over reopening of temples in Maharashtra has reached Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
A letter written by Maharashtra Governor, 78 year old Bhagat Singh Koshyari to Chief Minister Udhav Thakre questioned
his (Mr Thakre’s) decision not to reopen religious places for prayers when bars and restaurants had been reopened. The Chief
Minister (60) shot back a reply saying he did not require any ‘certificate’ from the Governor.
Jumping in NCP leader Sharad Pawar, an ally of Shiv Sena in the Maharashtra government, wrote to Prime Minister Narendra
Modi objecting to the Governor’s letter.
The Maharashtra Governor had written to the Chief Minister on Monday questioning his decision not to reopen religious places
in the state and asked if he had turned ‘’secular.’’ The Chief Minister shot back on Tuesday saying he did not need any ‘’certificate’’ from the Governor on Hindutva.
Mr Sharad Pawar wrote to the Prime Minister on Tuesday appreciating the effort of the Governor to convey his views via the letter. Mr Pawar said the Governor could have his independent views and opinions on the issue. He, however, said he was ‘’shocked and surprised’’ to see the letter released to the media and the language used in it.
“I agree that the Hon. Governor can have his independent views and opinions on the issue. I also appreciate this effort of the Governor to convey his views via this letter. However, I am shocked and surprised that the letter of the Governor was released to the media and also the kind of language used in the letter,” he said in the letter to the Prime Minister.
The Maharashtra government on August 18 told the Bombay High Court that it has no intention to reopen places of worship for the public. A bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Revati Mohite-Dere was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by NGO – Association for Aiding Justice seeking directives to the Maharashtra government to reopen the places of worship of all the religions and allow devotees to enter the shrines. The plea also sought guidelines by the state government while permitting religious places to open for public.
Opposing the plea, Advocate General (AG) Ashutosh Kumbhakoni told the bench that the state would not open any place of worship.
BJP organised protest demonstrations at several places in Maharashtra on Tuesday questioning the Maharashtra government’s decision, Besides Mumbai, the protest was held at Nagpur, Shirdi and Kolhapur. The BJP said that while the Udhav Thakre government had allowed reopening of bars, why couldn’t they allow reopening of temples ?
The Governor in his letter asked the Chief Minister why temples in the state were still shut while other activities like bars and restaurants were allowed. ‘’Our Gods and Goddesses have been condemned to stay under lockdown,’’ he said.
‘’I wonder whether you have been receiving any premonition to keep postponing the reopening of the places of worship time and again or have you suddenly turned secular, the term you hated,’’ the Governor wrote.
The Maharashtra Chief Minister in his letter to the Governor on October 13, said his (Mr Udhav Thakre’s) Hindutva did not
‘’Do you consider opening of temples as Hindutva and not opening them as secularism,’’ the Chief Minister asked.
In Aurangabad, the BJP-led Spiritual Coordination Alliance held agitation on Tuesday seeking reopening of temples. Headed by Alliance Convenor Sanjay Joshi, the agitators gathered in front of the Gajanan Baba temple in the Garkheda locality and resorted to fasting.
Similar agitations were held in front of the Eknath Maharaj temple of the Paithan town as well as the Hanuman temple of Vaijapur.
In Thane BJP workers gathered at the historic Ghantali temple and rang bells while carrying a huge banner which said in Marathi that temples are closed while bars had been opened.