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Saidham Charitable Trust, which manages various temples in Maharashtra including that of Sai Baba, on Wednesday approached the Supreme Court seeking its direction to the Centre to restrain people from making derogatory statements against the saint.

The petitioner submitted that the government be ordered to restrain Shankaracharya Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati and his followers not to make any statements against Sai Baba. It also pleaded that he and his followers be not allowed to remove Sai Baba’s idols from any temple across the country.

The case was mentioned before a bench of justices AR Dave and UU Lalit but Justice Dave recused himself from hearing the case.

“The belief and religious sentiments of lakhs of devotees of the trust and also of crores of devotees of Shri Sai Baba located in India and outside have been irreparably hurt by the libelous, slanderous, defamatory, insulting and abusive language and words used by Shri Shankaracharyaji and his followers,” the petition said.

It said despite such apparent abusive language used by Shankaracharya, the Centre or the state government have not taken any stern action to protect and respect the sentiments of lakhs of devotees of Shri Sai Baba.

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