Greeting people on the occasion of the 10-day Ganesh festival which began on Monday, Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan appealed the devotees to co-operate with the police in maintenance of security.
“Everybody should co-operate with the police. We cannot rule out the possibility of any untoward incident. Anti-social elements try to take advantage during such festivals. People should be alert,” Mr. Chavan said, talking to reporters after installing Ganesh idol at his official residence ‘Varsha’ in Mumbai.
On the statement by Mumbai police commissioner Satyapal Singh which drew flak from Shiv Sena, Mr. Chavan said he would talk with the top police officer.
The commissioner had said that Ganesh Mandals should ensure that women devotees are not molested inside the crowded pandals. If such an incident takes place, the concerned Mandal may not be allowed next year to organise to put up a pandal, he had said.
Meanwhile, Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde also installed the idol of the elephant-headed god at his Bandra residence. Mr. Shinde said he prayed to the lord for peace and prosperity in the country.
People of the metropolis greeted its favourite god with enthusiasm. The slogan ‘Ganapati Bappa Moraya’ rented the air as devotees brought the idol home for installation.
In view of intelligence inputs about possible terror strikes, Mumbai police have drawn an extensive security plan to maintain a hawk-eyed vigil for the next ten days.
Police have also launched the initiative ‘Mumbai Ke Liye 1 Minute’, where citizens are told to take out a minute to look around to spot a suspicious person, object or vehicle, and alert the police on 100 or 022-22633333.
“We have prepared a tight security plan but it will be more effective with the support of the public, who need to keep their eyes and ears open,” Joint Police Commissioner (Law and Order) Sadanand Date had said earlier.
Last month, police distributed copies of a booklet to 6,000 Ganesh Mandals, which gives information on security measures and traffic arrangements during the festival, telephone numbers of various agencies, senior police officials and disaster control rooms.
Special security arrangements had been made for the famous ‘Lalbaugcha Raja’ pandal in central Mumbai, one of the most popular Ganesh pandal which attracts about 1 to 1.50 lakh devotees a day, Date said.
About 100 police officers, around 1,000 security personnel and three paramilitary contingents will be specially deployed for the security there.