Led by the party’s state chief Chandrakant Patil, BJP leaders and workers walked to temples blowing conch shells and in some places they even barged into the shrines.
Blowing conch shells outside temples across Maharashtra, BJP workers led by the party’s state chief Chandrakant Patil held a ‘shankhanad andolan’ Monday seeking to open up the shrines for the public. Protests were staged at temples in several places including Mumbai, Pune, Nashik, Solapur and Nagpur.
Party leaders and workers walked to the places of worship blowing conch shells. Patil led the demonstration in Pune where a group of BJP workers walked into Kasbapeth Ganesh Temple demanding that it be reopened. “The shankhanad is necessary to wake up the Maha Vikas Aghadi government which is in deep slumber. Pleas demanding the reopening of temples have gone unheard for the past 15 months,” Patil said.
Despite unlocking several activities and places, the Uddhav Thackeray-led state government is yet to relax norms for temple visits.
At Pandharpur temple in Solapur district, several hundred BJP activists holding party flags barged inside temples breaking barriers and defying police orders. Mumbai BJP chief Mangalprabhat Lodha steered the agitation outside the Babulnath Temple.
“This government gives more importance to liquor bars than temples. The Maha Vikas Aghadi government turns a blind eye to massive crowds outside liquor shops. They don’t use police force to act against the crowd outside liquor shops. But when BJP workers make a humble request for opening temples, a lathi-wielding police force is used to arrest them,” Patil said, justifying the BJP agitation.
Chief of BJP’s adhyatmik cell Tushar Bhosale slammed the government for refusing to open up places of worship in Maharashtra. “Why are Covid-19 curbs still applicable for temples? People seek solace and spiritual strength in temples. Why is the state government determined to continue the ban on temples?…. The public’s patience is running out. If our humble request goes unheard, we will have to agitate,” he said.
No Covid-19 protocol was followed at the protest sites. In Solapur, party workers were huddled together as they barged inside the temple premises. The situation was no different outside the Kasbapeth Ganesh Temple with hardly anyone adhering to social distancing norms.
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