After high drama, Ganesha festival permitted at Idgah Maidan

The Dharwad Bench of the Karnataka High Court declines to give an interim stay

September 15, 2023 10:36 pm | Updated 10:37 pm IST - HUBBALLI

BJP MLA Mahesh Tenginakai and others bring an idol of Lord Ganesha during the indefinite protest on the premises of Hubballi Dharwad Municipal Corporation in Hubballi on Friday seeking immediate permission for Ganesha festival at Idgah Maidan.

BJP MLA Mahesh Tenginakai and others bring an idol of Lord Ganesha during the indefinite protest on the premises of Hubballi Dharwad Municipal Corporation in Hubballi on Friday seeking immediate permission for Ganesha festival at Idgah Maidan. | Photo Credit: KIRAN BAKALE

After a high drama on the premises of Hubballi-Dharwad Municipal Corporation here on Friday night, including a snap road blockade by BJP leaders that necessitated intervention of Police Commissioner Renuka Sukumar, the municipal corporation gave permission for public celebration of Ganesha festival at the controversial Idgah Maidan here for three days.

Consequently, the late-night protest led by Arvind Bellad and Mahesh Tenginakai, MLAs, as part of the indefinite protest by BJP turned into a celebration and protesters burst firecrackers.

On Thursday afternoon, the BJP launched an indefinite agitation seeking permission to erect Ganesha pandal and celebrate Ganesha festival at the controversial Idgah Maidan here after talks with the Municipal Commissioner were inconclusive. The leaders insisted on giving permission for the public celebration of the festival at the Idgah Maidan as was done last year, during the BJP regime.

They alleged that the Municipal Commissioner was acting like a puppet of the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government and was hurting the religious sentiments of Ganesha devotees. 

Subsequently, led by Mr. Bellad and council members they staged an overnight dharna before the Municipal Commissioner’s office, singing bhajans.

To register their protest they slept in the office of the Commissioner and in the morning Mr. Tenginakai joined them and vowed to install a Ganesha idol at the Idgah Maidan, even in the absence of permission by the corporation.

Later in the day, Sri Ram Sene chief Pramod Mutalik joined the agitation and lambasted the Congress government for what he termed as appeasement politics.

After the Dharwad Bench of the High Court of Karnataka declined to issue interim stay as sought by Anjuman-E-Islam, they celebrated the development and urged the Municipal Commissioner to grant permission immediately.

At dusk, the protesters became impatient and started demanding that the Municipal Commissioner (who was not at his office) to announce his decision on the issue immediately. As it was getting dark, they resorted to a road blockade and burnt the effigy of the Chief Minister, forcing the Police Commissioner to intervene and clear the road blockade.

HC rejects interim plea

Earlier in the day, the Dharwad Bench of the Karnataka High Court declined to stay the implementation of the municipal council’s resolution on permitting celebration of Ganesha festival at the Idgah Maidan.

Conducting hearing on the writ petition filed by Anjuman-E- Islam, Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum declined to grant an interim order staying the implementation of the municipal corporation’s resolution. However, he admitted the petition for hearing on the issues raised in the petition and directed the contesting respondents to file their statement of objections within a period of six weeks.

In his order, Justice Magadum said that the question as to whether the petitioner’s (Anjuman-E-Islam) right in the property in question stands curtailed in view of the impugned resolution of the Hubballi-Dharwad Municipal Corporation needs to be decided by the court. However the judge said that at this stage he is not inclined to grant any interim order and allowed the parties to file their respective statements of objections within next six weeks.

The court also did not grant any interim stay on the petition filed by Leader of Opposition in the Hubballi-Dharwad Municipal Corporation, Suvarna Kallakuntla, who had raised the issue of breach of privilege by the municipal council while including additional agenda, in which the issue of permitting Ganesha pandal at Idgah Maidan was also included.

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