Walse Patil made the comment when responding to a question from journalists regarding the investigation into the Gyanvapi Mosque in the city of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh and reports of a tense situation there.
“The case is pending before the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court will make a decision in this regard. Brothers and sisters from Hindu and Muslim communities should ensure that there is no (attempt to) divide people on religious grounds (in Maharashtra),” the minister told reporters.
The atmosphere in the state should be kept peaceful, he added.
“The Maharashtra Police are doing their job. They are keeping an eye on the situation,” the minister said.
On another question about objectionable and controversial posts on social media, Walse Patil told users to exercise restraint.
“I wouldn’t say there should be restrictions. But social media users should exercise restraint or there should be a mechanism to regulate it,” he said.
“I think imposing restrictions is like banning it (the use of social media). Instead, a law and a mechanism should be prepared in the future. We will think about it,” he said.
A commission investigating the videography of the Gyanvapi Masjid complex in Varanasi will seek additional time from a local court on Tuesday to submit its report as it has not yet been compiled, an official said earlier in the day.
The court had previously asked the commission to submit the report by Tuesday.
On Monday, the court ordered the sealing of a pond in the Gyanvapi Masjid complex after lawyers representing the Hindu petitioners said a Shivling had been found there during the court-mandated video investigation.
However, a member of the mosque’s management committee disputed this claim, saying the object was part of the water fountain mechanism of the ‘wazookhana’ tank where worshipers perform ablution before offering namaz.
The mosque is located close to the iconic Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi and the court hears a plea there from a group of women seeking permission to pray daily in front of the idols on its outer walls.