‘Have you turned secular’: Maharashtra Governor writes to CM Thackeray over reopening of religious places

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Written by Vishwas Waghmode | Mumbai | Updated: October 13, 2020 3:37:03 pm

Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari (Right) and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. (Express archive)

Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari has written to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray asking if he has turned “secular” in a letter in which he has demanded the immediate reopening of places of worship.

The letter, sent from Raj Bhawan Mumbai on Monday has triggered a war of words, with Thackeray hitting back stating that he does not need a certificate for his Hindutva from Koshyari, or any lessons on Hindutva.

Referring to Thackeray’s address Sunday over social media, Koshyari wrote in an unusually worded letter to the Chief Minister terming as “most unfortunate” the extension of the ban on the religious places.

“You have been a strong votary of Hindutva. You had publicly espoused your devotion for Lord Rama by visiting Ayodhya after taking charge as the Chief Minister. You had visited the Vitthal Rukmini Mandir in Pandharpur and performed the puja on Ashadhi Ekadashi,” wrote Koshyari.

“I wonder if you are receiving any divine premonition to keep postponing the reopening of the places of worships time and again or have you suddenly turned ‘secular’ yourselves, the term you hated?” asked the Governor and further mentioned that places of worships were reopened in Delhi on June 8 and across the nation towards the end of June. There have not been reports of a surge in COVID-19 cases from any of these places, he added.

“I request you to announce forthwith the reopening of all the places of worship with all necessary COVID-19 precautions,” stated Koshyari. The Governor enclosed with his letter three represnetations for the reopening of places of worship.

On Tuesday, Thackeray hit back at the Governor stating that he does not need a certificate for Hindtuva from Governor. “What you mentioned about my Hindutva in the letter is absolutely correct. But, my Hindutva does not need your certificate. Also, I don’t need to learn it from anyone. It does not fit into my Hindutva to welcome home, with a smile, those who call my state or the capital of my state Pakistan-occupied Kashmir,” remarked Thackeray.

Taking objection to the Governor’s question on whether Thackeray had turned secular, Thackeray asked, “Why should you ask such a question? Are you saying that only opening places of worship is Hindutva and not opening them is secular? Secularism is the core part of the Constitution based on which you took oath as Governor. Don’t you agree with it?”

Thackeray also referred to the Governor mocking him with the taunt about divine premonitions. “You may have experienced such things but I am not so great,” Thackeray hit back.

On Governor forwarding three copies of representation, Thackeray said all three letters are from BJP office bearers and their supporters. “It could be a coincidence. Anyway, the government is seriously considering your request and I assure you that a decision will be taken as soon as possible by taking all due care,” he added.

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