The Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) on Saturday held a 'bhajan protest' here along with the members of the 'warkari' community to press for the demand that the state government allow the annual 'wari' processions to Pandharpur.
Warkaris are devotees of Lord Vitthala, who take annual 'wari' (pilgrimage) to the temple town of Pandharpur in Solapur district of Maharashtra. However, in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Maharashtra government has cancelled the pilgrimage this year, which is characterised by people walking to Pandharpur with palanquins from various parts of the state.
The VHP held the agitation at the Sanvidhan Square in Nagpur city to demand that the warkaris be allowed to undertake the pilgrimage. The protesters sang 'bhajans '(devotional songs) at the site.
Talking to PTI, VHP leader Sanathkumar Gupta said, "The VHP, along with the members of the warkari community and other organisations, is staging ' bhajan andolan' across Vidarbha. Thereafter, memorandums of our demand will be handed over to the collectors of the districts in the region." Alleging that the state government was "oppressing the Hindus" by stopping the 700-year-old Wari tradition, he said that 500 warkaris be allowed to accompany each of the prominent 10 'palkhis'' (palanquins) to Pandharpur on foot, he said.
The annual pilgrimage culminates on the day of Ashadhi Ekadashi, which falls on July 20 this year