September 1, 2020 2:22:17 am
Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi president Prakash Ambedkar on Monday held a day-long agitation outside Pandharpur temple to demand reopening of places of worship. VBA mobilised support of ‘warkaris’ for the agitation.
Ambedkar gave the government 10 days to come out with guidelines for places of worship. But if it fails, VBA will intensify its agitation, he said.
Ambedkar along with a few warkaris entered the temple and offered prayers. The temple gates of Pandharpur were unlocked after five and a half months. “Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has assured to consider our demand. They want some time to prepare the guidelines,” he said. “If all places of worship — temples, churches, gurdwaras and mosques — are not opened in 10 days, we will return to Pandharpur with a larger crowd and agitate indefinitely,” he added.
“The government cannot take a discriminatory stand on unlocking of temples. What is the correlation between reopening of temples and increase in coronavirus cases if guidelines are implemented? People are travelling in buses. They are visiting markets,” Ambedkar argued.
His decision to lead the agitation for temple reopening is being seen as a political strategy to expand his organisation and vote base among “vanchit Hindus”, sources said.
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