Shirdi in Maharashtra will remain closed for an indefinite period from Sunday following Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's announcement that the state government will develop Pathri town in Parbhani district as the birthplace of Sai Baba.
It is learnt that the closure of the city will not affect the functioning of Sai Baba Temple in Shirdi and it will remain open on Sunday. People living in Shirdi have called for an indefinite closure of the city to oppose Thackeray's decision to develop Pathri as Sai Baba's birthplace.
The decision to close Shirdi for an indefinite period was taken on Saturday during a meeting of the Shirdi Gram Sabha. People from areas near Shirdi have also decided to support the bandh call. The people in Pathri have also decided to shut the city to express solidarity with the people of Shirdi. Sources told Zee Media that people in Parbhani are also planning to hold 'bhajan' outside the District Administration's office to register their protest against CM Thackeray's decision.
The residents of Shirdi are claiming that the temple will lose its importance if the state government decides to develop Pathri as the birthplace of Saibaba. On the other hand, CM Thackeray has already announced a grant of Rs 100 crore for the purpose of developing Pathri. The project to develop Pathri was approved by the Maharashtra Chief Minister during his two-day tour to Ahmedabad.
Notably, Shirdi's Saibaba temple is one of the most popular destinations in the country, with lakhs of devotees from different parts of the country visiting it every year. The temple receives crores of donation every year from the devotees visiting the temple.