After an organisation of warkaris (pilgrims) criticised Sharad Pawar for "promoting atheism" and urged the community members to stop inviting him to religious events, the NCP chief on Saturday hit back saying that there was no need for anybody's permission to visit temples.
Rashtriya Warkari Parishad had recently issued a statement in which it had urged the community members to stop inviting today's "atheist rulers" for religious functions or for events like inaugurations or lectures.
"Honourable Sharad Pawar saheb says there is no need of 'Ramayana'. He supports those who indulge in insult of gods, saints, Hindu religion...Therefore, warkaris should remain cautious in future and always remember that they are Hindu first," the Parishad had said.
It also urged the warkari community to stop inviting those politicians to religious functions, inaugurations or to give lectures, who promote atheist thought.
Addressing a gathering in Alandi, a popular pilgrim town in Pune district, Pawar said there was no need to seek anyone's permission to visit Lord Vitthal's temple in Pandharpur and pray there.
"If you want to worship Lord Vitthal, you visit Pandharpur. If you want to worship Saint Dnyaneshwar and Saint Tukaram, then you visit Alandi and Dehu respectively. There is no need to take permission from anyone to visit these places," he said.
"Therefore, if anyone says that you don't have permission to visit these places, then I think they don't understand the thought of the warkari sampraday (sect)," he said.
"A true warkari will never take such a stand. I think we should ignore such things and follow our own choices," the former Union minister added.
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