Maharashtra BJP demands reopening of temples

Maharashtra BJP demands reopening of temples

Senior BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar said that those who have taken two vaccines must be allowed to go to places of worship

A Hindu priest performs a ritual in front of idols of Hindu god Krishna and Balarama on the occasion of 'Janmashtami' festival that marks the birth of Krishna, at a temple in Bangalore on August 30, 2021. Credit: AFP Photo

Staging protests across Maharashtra, the opposition BJP came down heavily on the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government and demanded reopening of temples with the Covid-19 situation easing. 

However, the government seems to be taking no chances as it comes out of the second wave and prepares for the third wave, expected to hit in October-November. 

It may be mentioned that in 2020, after the flattening of the curve first wave, the BJP staged protests and it resulted in a spat between Thackeray and state Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari.

The government had reopened temples coinciding with Diwali festivities, however, ordered places of worship to be shut when the second wave hit in February-March 2021.

State BJP president Chandrakant Patil questioned the logic behind closure of temples. “What is the logic behind keeping temples shut but keeping liquor bars open?” asked Patil.

In Mumbai, senior BJP leader and former finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said that those who have taken two vaccines must be allowed to go to places of worship.  

Couple of days ago, eminent Gandhian and social activist Anna Hazare has also questioned the government's stand to not reopen temples in the state and extended his support to any agitation for lifting curbs on temples. "Why is the state government not opening temples? What danger does the state government see in opening temples for people? If Covid-19 is the reason, then there are big queues outside liquor shops," he said.

Also Read — Why temples not reopened in Maharashtra? asks Hazare; assures support for protest

Throughout the day on Monday, protests were organised by the Aadhyatmik Aghadi (spiritual wing) of the BJP,  in Pune, Mumbai, Nashik, Nagpur, Pandharpur, Aurangabad and other places where agitators rang bells and blew conches.

In a related development, activists of the Raj Thackeray-led MNS staged a protest in neighbouring Thane against the state government’s decision to not allow Dahi Handi celebrations on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, state Public Health Minister Rajesh Tope said, “We need to take learnings from Kerala which saw a massive spike in Covid cases, a whooping 31,000 cases a day after Onam. We have to ensure Covid-appropriate behaviour.” He also said that the Centre has asked all precautions to be followed during the festive season.

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