Pulianthope residents are insisting they will immerse their silver Ganesha into the sea along with other Ganesha idols over the weekend. But the police say that thieves may dare to fish the Ganesha out for its silver worth over Rs. 20 lakh, and this may spark trouble in a communally “sensitive” area that often sees violence and gangland murders. This year, Pulianthope recorded some 30 murders till August — half of all murders in Chennai. “We are asking the residents to install the Ganesha in a temple,” says P. Loganathan, Assistant Commissioner of Police. “We will take a boat and immerse the Ganesha 10 km into the sea,” says S. Gunasekaran, a resident.

Three policemen including a sub-inspector with lathis guard the silver idol, on display since Monday at the Prakash Rao Colony. Of the more than 1,700 Ganesha idols in the city on public display, 165 are in Pulianthope police district. “Volunteers have also been roped in to safeguard the silver Ganesha,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Pulianthope) R. Sudhakar.

The three-foot tall Ganesha idol has been made out of over 19 kg of silver with experts from Mysore in Karnataka and Udaipur in Rajasthan designing and sculpting it. The residents decided on a silver Ganesha to mark the 25th year of having these idols on display during Vinayaka Chaturthi and taking them in a procession for immersion.