The residents of temple town of Shirdi in Maharashtra will observe a bandh on May 1 to highlight their demands. However, the shrine will remain open to the devotees and public transport too will be operational.
All shops and eateries in the town will remain closed on Monday. The residents are resenting the proposed move to deploy Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) jawans on the Sai Baba Temple premises for security, as they feel that the local police and private security are adequately equipped to handle the temple’s security. However, a temple trust functionary said there should be no reason for opposition even if they decide to go ahead with the CISF security.
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Besides, the local residents want the state government to have 50 per cent quota in the board of the Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust (SSST). The state government has already invited applications from people for setting up the board. The Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court had dissolved the 18-member board constituted by the previous Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government last year. The bandh will start from April 30 midnight and a call will be taken on extending it after 24 hours. A meeting will be convened on May 1 evening to reach a decision regarding it.
Meanwhile, in a statement released on its website, the Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust (SSST) had denied media reports and said that “all the aartis and all the religious traditions will continue on Monday (May 1) and thereafter. All the facilities from Sansthan such as Shri Sai Prasadalaya, all Bhakt Niwas locations and hospitals would be functioning regularly as always”. Rahul Jadhav, I/C Chief Executive Officer of the Sansthan, shared this information.
The temple located in Maharashtra attracts millions of visitors every year. People of all ages, cutting across religious lines, visit the shrine dedicated to Sai Baba.