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Bhide’s comments on saints Dnyaneshwar, Tukaram to be probed

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday told the state Legislative Assembly the reported comments of Sambhaji Bhide that the Manusmriti, an ancient Hindu legal text, was superior to the teachings of saints like Dnyaneshwar and Tukaram would be probed.

Bhide, chief of the right-wing Shiv Pratishthan Hindustan, is accused of instigating the violence against Dalits during the 200th anniversary celebrations of the Bhima-Koregaon battle in January 1 this year. He has denied the allegation.

Fadnavis told the House that his government was bound by the Constitution and the teachings of revered saints like Dnyaneshwar and Tukaram and added that there was no question of it supporting the Manusmriti.

“A probe would be conducted if any unconstitutional or illegal comments were made and proper action would be taken,” he said.

“We are committed to the Constitution and teachings of saints Tukaram and Dnyaneshwar,” he said.

Fadnavis also said that the processions, also called waaris, of palanquins carrying the padukas of these saints were, traditionally, welcomed by people flaunting weapons.

Last year, however, the Maharashtra CM added, the administration had prohibited the use of real weapons and laid down that arms on display during the welcoming ceremonies should be dummies.

“Nobody was prevented from having a darshan of the palanquins,” he informed the Assembly.

The issue was raised by NCP’s Ajit Pawar who said that Bhide’s comments were condemnable.

He wanted to know the government’s stand on Bhide’s comments which he said were insulting to the two revered saints.

Pawar also demanded Bhide’s arrest for allegedly provoking the youth.

The Leader of the Opposition, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, said that such polarisation was not good for the state.

Stating that the CM had given Bhide a clean chit in the Bhima Koregaon violence that took place on January 1 this year, Vikhe Patil wanted to know if the government agreed with Bhide’s comments or whether it intended to stop them.

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