(Eds: adds details) Mumbai, Oct 13 (PTI) Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has informed Governor B S Koshyari that a decision on reopening places of religious worship will be taken after careful consideration of the COVID-19 situation in the state.
Responding to a letter by Koshyari a day earlier, Thackeray on Tuesday wrote to the Governor, saying the state government will consider his request to reopen these places.
In his letter, Koshyari had mentioned that he has received three representations from delegations demanding that places of religious worship be reopened.
In response, Thackeray pointed out the 'coincidence' that all the three letters Koshyari mentioned were from BJP office-bearers and supporters.
An RSS veteran, Koshyari has been BJP's vice president and first president of that party's unit in Uttarakhand, where he also served as chief minister.
In the letter to the chief minister, Koshyari had asked, 'Have you suddenly turned secular, the term you hated?' Responding to this question, Thackeray wondered if to Koshyari Hindutva meant merely reopening places of religious worship and if not opening them was to him being secular.
'Isn't secularism a key component of the Constitution, by which you swore while taking oath as the state governor,' Thackeray said.
'I don't need your certificate for my Hindutva,' Thackeray said, referring to Koshyari's letter.
'While considering the sentiments and beliefs of the people, it is also important to take care of their lives and it is wrong to impose and lift lockdown suddenly,' he wrote.
In his letter, Koshyari told Thackeray that it is 'ironical that while on one hand the state government permitted opening of bars, restaurants and beaches, our gods and goddesses have been condemned to stay in the lockdown'.
Koshyari said during the last three months, several delegations of religious leaders, individuals, NGOs and political leaders had met him to demand reopening of places of religious worship.
The governor also reminded Thackeray that the Shiv Sena leader had been a strong votary of Hindutva and had 'publicly espoused his devotion to Lord Ram' by visiting Ayodhya after taking over as the chief minister last year. PTI VT VT VT