Chennai's silver Ganesha immersed in sea
Police raise doubts over authenticity of idol, say it may be made of iron coated with silver
Ending a week’s suspense over the fate of a silver Ganesha in Pulianthope, residents immersed the idol in the sea on Saturday.
But the police were not quite ready to believe that devotional fervour was behind the residents’ determination to go ahead with the immersion. The idol may not have been made of silver, after all, they said. It could have been made of iron but coated with silver.
“We asked them to install the idol in a temple but they did not agree,” said a senior police officer.
Also, none of the policemen guarding the idol over the past week were allowed to lift it or verify its authenticity. A heavy idol would have been a dead giveaway, the police said.
According to organisers at the Ganesha pandal in Pulianthope, the idol was made of 19 kg of silver and cost around Rs. 10 lakh.
Around 1.45 p.m. on Saturday, residents took out a procession that began at Prakash Rao Colony and passed through Pulianthope, Haj Buildings, Nataraja theatre junction, Perambur Barracks Road, Mint, Wall Tax Road, Royapuram and ended at Kasimedu.
More than 500 residents, devotees and members of the local Shiv Sena unit took part in the procession. A contingent of 75 policemen led by assistant commissioner (Pulianthope), P. Loganathan, ensured order.
A group of 30 persons including devotees and fishermen ventured nearly 13 km into the sea and immersed the idol, around 5.30 p.m.
“Despite its high value, we immersed the idol in the sea in keeping with tradition. We hope the idol is not stolen,” said M. Kalaivanan, an organiser.
Experts said the silver would last for centuries under water. “Silver is one of the five basic metals found in earth. It will never corrode. During earlier explorations, many silver objects were found intact in the sea and they were highly valued,” said Vummidi Uday Kumar, general secretary, Tamilnadu Jewellers Federation.
The immersion may be over, but the police are wary.
“The idol can be fished out by thieves and sold in the market. It’s an unnecessary problem for us,” said an officer.