Madurai

Police gear up for Chaturthi celebrations

A vendor selling idols of Vinayaka on Palayamkottai Road in Thoothukudi on Saturday.

A vendor selling idols of Vinayaka on Palayamkottai Road in Thoothukudi on Saturday.  

Having witnessed unpleasant incidents during the Vinayaka idol procession at Shencottai and minor acerbic disruptions in a few more places in the district after Vinayaka Chaturthi celebrations when the statues were taken for immersion in water bodies, police have drawn-up massive plans to ensure peaceful celebration this year.

When miscreants created trouble in the Vinayaka Chaturthi idol procession that snowballed into a face-off between Muslims and Hindus in Shencottai last year, police had to mobilise force in the religiously sensitive small town for about a week.

Though Collector Shilpa Prabhakar Satish voluntarily initiated talks with Muslims immediately after stone pelting on the idols that phenomenally doused the heat, subsequent invasion of a few leaders of political parties with religious affiliation kept the tension alive for a while for a few more days.

To avert such unpleasant situation, police are taking extra measures in the religiously sensitive areas this time.

Besides posting policemen from the police station concerned at spots where the idols are to be installed, representatives of the event organisers with identity cards should be there round-the-clock.

Moreover, the event organisers have been asked to install surveillance cameras around the place where idols are to be installed and to take the idols for immersion only via the permitted routes.

While police will give a ‘no objection certificate’ for installing Vinayaka idols at a non-objectionable spot, the Revenue Divisional Officer concerned will give his mandatory final nod for the religious event. Though police and revenue departments are keen on ensuring installation of the idols only at ‘permitted spots’, enormous pressure is being exerted on officials by a few with political backing to relax the norms so as to install the idols in other areas also that mostly lead to animosity or unpleasant incidents.

In Tirunelveli city, police have so far given ‘no objective certificate’ to 48 spots while the number has already swelled beyond 250 in rural Tirunelveli.

While nearly 750 policemen are expected to be deployed during the idol procession in Tirunelveli City, over 2,500 will be deployed in rural Tirunelveli for the event.

Although event organisers have been asked to install only soluble eco-friendly clay idols coated with harmless paints, plaster of paris statues being made in roadside workshops of north Indians in Palayamkottai and other areas are selling like hotcakes.

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Printable version | Apr 8, 2020 1:59:42 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/police-gear-up-for-chathurthi-celebrations/article29310537.ece

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