Nasik: On July 3, 2014, Thursday, residents of Shirdi held a rasta roko agitation at gate no 1 near the temple of Sai Baba to once again protest against the repeated statements of Shankaracharya Swaroopanand of Hardiwar, against Sai Baba and the temple in Shirdi and resolved to neglect such statements.
After the agitation the mob that had gathered held a meeting and decided not to pay attention to the statements made by the Shankaracharya.
"We as residents of Shirdi have decided not to blow any air into the fire so that it will die down on its own", stated Ashok Khambekar, a resident of Shirdi and a former trustee of the temple trust.
"The best way is to neglect what the Shankaracharya is saying as it is evident that devotees of Baba will not deter from their faith. This can be seen from the cash collection donated in the box in the temple. The collection over three days when it was counted two days ago was Rs2.13 crores and gold and silver and other valuables worth another Rs50 lakh. The collection speaks of the high number of devotees visiting the temple inspite of the fact that it is the June end, a time when people are busy with schools and colleges reopening. People have deep faith in Sai Baba and that will not change", Khambekar added.
Another resident said, "It appears that other seers seem to have lost their popularity and feel insecure and so this unnecessary issue over Sai Baba".
The residents once again urged Shankaracharya to stop making statements against Sai Baba and misleading the people. Shirdi a small town in Ahemednagar district lives and works largely around the temple. Since devotees to the temple have started increasing, the economy in Shirdi revolves around them.