Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) MP Sanjay Raut on Wednesday said that the Bharatiya Janata Party was trying to destroy social harmony in the state, reported The Hindu.
The Rajya Sabha MP’s remarks came after the state government on Tuesday constituted a Special Investigation Team to inquire into an alleged attempt by Muslim men to forcibly enter the Trimbakeshwar temple in Nashik.
The order was issued after the temple authorities filed a police complaint alleging that on May 13, a group of Muslims attempted to offer a chadar – a ceremonial cloth printed with religious verses – to Hindu deity Shiva. Four Muslim men have also been arrested in the case.
However, Muslim community leaders have claimed that they were only following a decades-old ritual of offering frankincense at the entrance of the temple. The temple authorities have denied that any such tradition exists.
“There is a 100-year-old tradition where devotees of the Sufi saint Gulab Shah Sandal offer frankincense at the steps of the Trimbakeshwar temple during their procession and pass on,” Raut said on Wednesday, according to The Hindu. “...No one forcibly attempted to enter the temple.”
He added that such traditions of communal harmony are common across the country and said that the state government was deliberately trying to destroy the social equilibrium in Maharashtra.
“During the Ganpati festival, the Muslim community too revere Mumbai’s famed Lalbaugcha Raja when the procession marches through the neighbourhoods of the minority community,” Raut said. “They shower flowers on the procession.”
Responding to allegations by BJP MLA Nitesh Rane that the Shiv Sena (UBT) was appeasing Muslims, Raut said: “Balasaheb Thackeray was one of the greatest Hindutva leaders of the country. He never ordered wanton attacks on Muslims nor believed in deliberately fomenting Hindu-Muslim riots. This is not our ‘Hindutva’. We have never used this as a tool to gain political mileage unlike some other parties.”
On Tuesday, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that the state government will not spare anyone who tries to disturb the law and order situation in the state.
“These are deliberate attempts and it will not be tolerated at all,” Fadnavis had alleged. “Our Police were and are on alert mode 24x7.”