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Security Up in B’luru’s Idgah Maidan After SC Says No to Puja; Lalbaugcha Raja Starts ‘Online Prasad’ Service

A total of Rapid Action Force (RAF) 120 personnel, a team of 100 special ammunition experts, 10 platoons of the Karnataka State Reserve Police (KSRP) were also put in place to avoid any untoward incidents. The police have already taken rowdy elements in the area into custody and also conducted flag marches and a series of meetings with religious leaders.

Meanwhile, the Chamarajanagar Citizens’ Forum, which was fighting a legal battle and urging the authorities to allow them to celebrate Ganeshotsav, has stated that it will abide by the Supreme Court order.

Hindu organizations have chosen to abide by the order. However, the police are not taking any chances.

Rame Gowda, the Forum’s President, stated that the organization will continue to wage its legal battle and he is confident of emerging victorious in the coming days and Ganeshotsav at the Idgah Maidan in a grand manner later.

The police have also made tight security arrangements at the Idgah Maidan in Hubballi city where the Karnataka High Court has allowed Ganeshotsav celebrations.

In a late-night hearing on Tuesday, the Karnataka High Court upheld an order of the Dharwad municipal commissioner allowing the Ganesh Chaturthi festival to be held at the Hubballi Idgah maidan. Justice Ashok S Kinagi held that the property belonged to the Dharwad municipality and Anjuman-e-Islam was only a lease holder for a period of 999 years at a fee of Re 1 per year.

The court had heard the issue earlier in the day. The municipal commissioner’s order was challenged in the court by Anjuman-e-Islam. The court had allowed the commissioner’s order but at the same time, the Supreme Court was hearing the issue of the festival being allowed at the Chamrajpet Idgah maidan in Bengaluru.

Anjuman-e-Islam had claimed that the property in question was protected under the Places of Worship Act, 1991, which says no religious place of worship can be converted. The high court said in the case of the property in question, it was not a religious place of worship and was allowed for prayers only during Bakrid and Ramzan. During other times, it was used for purposes like a marketplace and a parking lot. The Supreme Court order of status quo in the Bengaluru Chamrajpet ground was also not applicable to this case, the high court said.

The Chamrajpet issue involves a dispute about the ownership of the property, whereas the Hubballi ground belongs to the municipality, which Anjuman-e-Islam has also acknowledged, the court pointed out. It had said if there was a Supreme Court order on the Benglauru Idgah issue, the same could be mentioned before it.

The apex court ordered for status quo in the Bengaluru issue and the Ganesh Chaturthi festival set to be celebrated by the state government had to be withheld. The matter was mentioned in the Hubballi case. Justice Kinagi heard the matter at his official chamber at 10 pm. After hearing the parties, including the state government advocate, he dictated the orders at 11.15 pm.

Meanwhile, with the ten-day Ganesh festival set to begin on Wednesday sans any COVID-19 restrictions after a gap of two years, the Mumbai civic body has geared up to ensure that the festival passes off without any hiccups. Among other measures, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has set up 188 control rooms in 24 civic wards across the city. At least 10,000 civic employees including officials have been directed to ensure that the festival passes off peacefully with the support of the police, a BMC release said. The BMC has appealed to citizens to follow the instructions of the civic body and the police during the festival.

Apart from Mumbaikars, thousands of people from the Mumbai metropolitan region and other cities visit the city to take darshan of Lord Ganesh at various pandals, including the prominent ‘Lalbaug cha Raja’, which depicts various scenes from mythology, history, or the contemporary issues by erecting decorative sets. The civic body said it received 3,487 online applications from various pandals to organise the festival till August 26.

The BMC will deploy 786 lifeguards at various immersion points and set up 188 first-aid centres. 83 ambulances will also be arranged. Immersion of domestic idols of Lord Ganesh takes place five/six days after Ganesh Chaturthi. However, the main immersion processes are taken out on the tenth day of the festival- Anant Chaturdashi, which falls on September 9 this year. The civic body has arranged 45 motorboats and 39 German barges for the immersion. 48 inspection towers have been erected and barricades have been put at various places.

For brighter light at the immersion points, 3,069 flood lights and 71 searchlights have been installed, apart from setting up 211 reception rooms for better coordination, the release said. Altogether 357 ‘kalash’ to collect “nirmalya” or floral offerings offered to idols of Lord Ganesh have been set up at various spots in the city. 287 vehicles will carry ‘nirmalya’ which will be used for making organic manure. For the convenience of devotees, 134 temporary toilets will be placed at various locations.

Artificial ponds have been constructed in all 24 wards for immersing idols of Lord Ganesh. An online registration facility for immersion is also made available at https:hreeganeshvirsarjan.com, the civic body said.

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