Pune, Nov 22 (IANS): Religious preacher Acharya Dhirendra Shastri, popular as Bageshwar Baba, on Wednesday tendered an unconditional apology for his purported remarks on Sant Tukaram which had angered large sections of the Warkari community in Maharashtra.
Bageshwar Baba’s apology came a day after his volunteers and followers of Sant Tukaram clashed at his ongoing three-day religious discourse in Sangamwadi, scheduled to end on Wednesday.
“I have the deepest respect for Sant Tukaram. I regret my past comments on him if they have unintentionally caused hurt to anyone,” said Bageshwar Baba, after a video with his statements went viral recently.
He added that he would pay obeisance at the historic samadhi of Sant Tukaram in Dehu Road, who lived and preached there around 400 years ago.
The preacher’s comments were greeted with black flags, slogan shouting and protests by the Bhim Army and other organisations at his ‘Divya Darbar’ and ‘Hanuman Katha’, while the rationalist organisation, Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (MANS), challenged his superstitious claims.
The MANS also shot off a letter to Pune Police Commissioner demanding action against Bageshwar Baba if he indulged in propagating statements without scientific basis that are intended to misguide the people.