The CM wins hearts with his move to not open religious places. The centre pressurised the state government into going otherwise but the CM stood strong on his decision.
This move has won hearts of many activists and writers in Maharashtra and they wrote a letter showing their appreciation. They congratulated Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray for not falling into the Centre’s pressure and holding his own.
Prominent people among the letter writes were Jnanpith awardee writer Bhalchandra Nemade, writer-critic Shanta Gokhale. Also playwright Jayant Pawar, writer Ranganath Pathare, poet Neerja. The former director of Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) Naresh Dadhich, scientist Hemchandra Pradhan. Social activists Subhash Ware and Ashutosh Shirke, artist Sujit Patwardhan. Educationist Vidya Patwardhan, activist Mukta Dabholkar, Sarvoday activist Vijay Diwan, activist Pratibha Patil and leading agriculture expert writer Milind Murugkar.
Read excerpts from the Letter here.
“All states are fighting the corona virus by trying to strike a balance between preventing the spread of the disease and opening up regular activities. But you were burdened with the additional task of countering pressure exerted by the governor to reopen temples and his open opposition to ‘secularism’,” the letter stated.
It further said, “You had two options — think of people’s health or think of their faith. Secularism means standing firmly in favour of people’s physical well being if their faith obstructs it. Article 25 of the Constitution gives the government the authority to curb religious freedom if it obstructs people’s well being of health,” adding, “we find political use of people’s faith extremely objectionable because, if it succeeds, it can prove dangerous for the future of the devouts.”
The letter also said, “The secular human being believes that the government’s role should be determined by the physical well-being of people. We heartily congratulate you for taking a firm stand in favour of secularism and for having conveyed it clearly to the governor, as we believe it’s difficult to take such a position when it comes to religious faiths.”
This decision though came at a price. The chief minister had to face severe backlash from the ruling BJP government.
Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari said some unsavoury things to the CM in his letter to appeal for reopening of worship places.
The Governor was then condemned by Nationalist Congress Party leader Sharad Pawar and Home Minister Amit Shah.