Shirdi town, Sai Baba temple will remain open; locals withdraw shutdown call

Residents of Shirdi, home to the popular Sai Baba Temple, have decided to withdraw the bandh call announced earlier by all-party members and various organizations to protest against demands to deploy the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) to guard the temple premises, which are currently protected by the Maharashtra Police. The bandh was scheduled to start on May 1, Maharashtra Day.

The bandh call was withdrawn after the Guardian Minister of Ahmednagar and State Revenue Minister, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, assured a delegation of residents that the state government will file an intervention application in the Bombay High Court to support the stance of the Shirdi residents against the deployment of the central agency. A few years ago, an activist named Sanjay Kale filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court seeking deployment of a central security force to secure the temple, which is visited by thousands of devotees from across the country every day. While hearing the petition, the HC directed the Principal District Judge to submit a report on the security situation in the temple area.

According to locals, the report submitted to the HC supported the view that security at the temple needs to be strengthened, which has led to speculation that the HC may direct the government to deploy CISF to guard the temple. However, many residents believe that this move would affect the functioning and interfere with the faith of Sai devotees. Ashok Gayke, a local youth leader who is part of the group at the forefront of the agitation, said, “If need be, they can deploy additional police from the state force. Anyway, half of the posts are vacant.”

After a gram sabha earlier this week, it was decided by consensus that the village will observe an indefinite bandh from May 1, but the temple operations will remain functional. “We had decided to shut all the shops inside and outside the temple premises. However, after getting assurance from Guardian Minister Radhikrishna Vikhe Patil that the state government will file an intervention application to support our stance, we have decided to withdraw the bandh call,” said a former trustee of the Shirdi Sai Sansthan.

The locals have also been demanding that the government make it a norm that 50% of the trustees of the board should be from Shirdi town.


  • Adam Gray

    Adam Gray is an experienced journalist with a passion for breaking news and delivering it to the masses. With over a decade of experience in the field, he has covered everything from local stories to national events, earning a reputation for his accuracy, reliability, and attention to detail. As a reporter, Adam is always on the lookout for the next big story, and his dedication to uncovering the truth has earned him the respect of his peers and readers alike. When he's not chasing down leads, Adam can be found poring over the latest headlines, always on the lookout for the next big scoop. Contact [email protected]

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