The administrative body of Sai Baba's Samadhi calls for the indefinite closure of the Shirdi temple from Sunday, January 18 after Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray reportedly said Pathri in Parbhani is Sai Baba's birthplace.

Shirdi Sai Baba Temple
Shirdi Sai Baba Temple.

The Shirdi row

In an attempt to protest against chief minister Uddhav Thackeray's comment, the administrative body of Sai Baba's Samadhi took the decision of indefinitely shutting the 19th-century temple of Shirdi after Thackeray announced Rs 100 crore allotment for development of Pathri in Parbhani, which is believed to be Sai Baba's birthplace.

"We have announced to close Shirdi against rumours from January 19," said B Wakchaure of Saibaba Sansthan Trust. "A meeting of villagers will be convened Saturday, January 18 evening to discuss the issue. Devotees will not face any difficulty if they come to Shirdi," Mr Wakchaure added.

Locals upset over Thackeray's comment, seek explanation

Shiv Sena
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray.Reuters File

The local residents are reportedly upset with Thackeray's announcement and have sought an explanation from the chief minister.

According to reports, Kailasbapu Kote, a former trustee of Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust, "The locals are unhappy with Thackeray for describing Pathri as the birthplace of Sai Baba. There is no document available about Sai Baba's birthplace. Sai Baba himself never shared any information about his birthplace or religion during his stay in Shirdi." 

The Shirdi temple and its units like the Sai Prasadalaya, Sai Hospital, Sai Bhaktaniwas and the local medical shops have been kept outside the purview of the bandh.