Sources indicated that the Warkari devotees had got into an argument with the police during the procession. The altercation took place during entry into the Shree Kshetra temple in Alandi for a ceremony.
Warkari devotees on way to a temple in Pandharpur were allegedly lathicharged by the Maharashtra police in Pune district on Sunday. This is the first time Warkaris — devotees of the Lord Vithoba, a form of Lord Krishna — have been subjected to police action in the state. Sources indicated that the devotees had got into an argument with the police during the procession. The altercation took place during entry into the Shree Kshetra temple of Alandi town — 22 km from Pune city — for a ceremony.
Police sources said they had resorted to mild lathicharge to control the overwhelming number of devotees. The rules to allow only 75 members to enter the premises but instead, around 400 people were trying to forcibly enter the temple.
Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis denied allegations of lathicharge and called it a “minor scuffle”. “There was no lathicharge on the Warkari community,” Mr Fadnavis told reporters in Nagpur.
“We learned from the last year’s stampede-like situation at the same place (Alandi) and tried giving fewer entry passes to various groups. It was decided to issue 75 passes to each group that participate in the pilgrimage,” Mr Fadnavis, who handles the Home portfolio, was quoted as saying by news agency Press Trust of India.
He said around 500 people insisted that they would participate in the pilgrimage and won’t follow the decision on the restricted allotment of the entry pass.
“They broke the barricades and the police tried to stop them, during which some police personnel were injured,” Mr Fadnavis said.
The situation has drawn opposition attack on the government.
“Oh oh.. The pretensions of the Hindutva government exposed.. The mask fell off. How was Aurangzeb behaving differently? Mughals have reincarnated in Maharashtra,” read a rough translation of a tweet by senior Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut.
“The manner in which the police batoned the Warkari brothers in Sri Kshetra Alandi is very outrageous. This insult to the Warkaris in the presence of the great saint Dnyaneshwar Maharaj, who laid the foundation of the Warkari sect, is highly condemnable. Does the government have any responsibility towards Warkari sect or not?” tweeted NCP’s Chaggan Bhujbal.
The Warkaris are pilgrims who go from Alandi to the Vithal temple in Pandharpur. The walk had started from June 11.
The departure of Sant Dnyaneshwar Maharaj Palkhi from Alandi and Sant Tukaram Maharaj Palkhi from Dehu on June 10 signifies the beginning of this grand pilgrimage.
Post a commentThe Warkaris are expected to converge in the sacred town of Pandharpur on the auspicious day of Ashadhi Ekadashi on June 29