Shiv Sena’s mouthpiece ‘Saamna’ in an editorial, on Tuesday, clarified the party’s stance on the Sai Baba controversy and said that the Chief Minister has passed a Rs 100 crore grant for the development of Pathri. The editorial defended the CM and said that it was the historians and academicians who claimed Pathri to be the birthplace of Sai Baba. It further said that Shirdi is already developed and it will always be the primary pilgrimage for all the Sai Baba devotees.
Saamna defends CM on Shirdi row
Accepting that the CM heard what the historian had to say about Pathri being the birthplace of Sai Baba, Saamna said, “In a meeting, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray promoted a town of Parbhani as the birthplace of Sai and announced a grant of Rs 100 crores for the development of the stones. Shirdi villagers became angry at this. The Chief Minister did not take the decision on Pathri himself or did not refer to the Pathri only because of anything that came to his mind. The Chief Minister spoke about the sentiments of the ancient Sai devotees, Sai characters and about whatever the historians have written down.”
Read: Shirdi Controversy: After Pathri, Bhivpuri claims its Sai temple is more ancient
Saamna on CM’s meeting with the people of Shirdi
The editorial further read, “The Chief Minister has created no controversy over Sai Baba’s birthplace. People from Pathri and Shirdi should also avoid doing the same. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said at a meeting with the people of Shirdi, on Monday, that funds would be provided for the development of the pilgrimage in Pathri. It would not be given to developing Pathri as the birthplace of Sai Baba, but as a pilgrimage area.”
Read: Sai Baba birthplace row escalates: Pathri threatens stir as CM Uddhav meets Shirdi locals
“The people from Shirdi were satisfied with this and they withdrew the bandh. The Chief Minister gave immediate attention to the issue and clarified the government's view. People on both sides were satisfied and an irreparable dispute was over. This was possible because of the teachings given by Sai Baba that this controversy could be avoided. Sai Baba said, 'There is only one god for all,’ people should keep this in mind that Sai Baba helped everyone!” the editorial added.
Read: CM Uddhav retracts calling Pathri the birthplace of Sai Baba after meeting with Shirdi trust
Sai Baba controversy
After CM Uddhav had declared a grant to develop Pathri, the move triggered residents of Shirdi to announce a bandh from January 19 onwards. Moreover, Saibaba Sansthan Trust reportedly slammed Thackeray for confusing the devotees. Reportedly, the residents of Shirdi had apprehensions that the temple will lose its importance if Pathri is declared as the birthplace of Sai Baba.
However, the trust later mentioned that they do not have any issues with the Thackeray government issuing funds for the development of Pathri. But they did not want it to be declared as Sai baba's birthplace. While Shirdi is known as Sai Baba's 'karmabhoomi' and the place where he attained samadhi, Pathri is allegedly believed to be his birthplace by many but the claim has never been proven.
Read: Shirdi villagers suspend bandh; future course of action depends on CM's decision