Tamil Nadu

‘Vinayaka Chaturthi public celebrations banned based on Home Ministry advice’

The Tamil Nadu government on Monday told the Madras High Court that the Union Home Ministry had on August 29 written to the Chief Secretaries of all States and advised them to take suitable measures to avoid large gatherings during the festive season. Therefore, the government banned installation of idols in public places during the Vinayaka Chaturthi celebrations this year.

Appearing before Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice P.D. Audikesavalu, Advocate General R. Shunmugasundaram said Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla had asked the State governments to impose local restrictions with a view to curbing large gatherings and also to initiate action against government officials for any laxity in strict enforcement of COVID-19 appropriate behaviour.

Pursuant to the communication, the State government issued a Government Order on August 30 banning installation of idols in public places or to hold any kind of celebrations in public places on account of Vinayaka Chaturthi.

A ban was imposed on processions and mass immersion of idols in waterbodies too. People were requested to celebrate the festival in their homes.

The Government Order also stated that individuals would be permitted to worship by placing Vinayaka idols in their homes, and they would also be permitted to immerse the idols individually in waterbodies.

Chennai scenario

However, as far as Chennai is concerned, a total ban would be in place against immersion of idols in the beach particularly in the stretch between Santhome and Napier bridge.

“The above permission is only for individuals. Organisations are totally banned to carry out this action. Permission is granted for individuals to leave idols, which were worshipped in their houses, in front of temples or in and around temples. The Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department would take necessary action to remove those idols later,” the Government Order read.

It also made it clear that gathering of people in public places during the birth anniversary of Mary Annai to be celebrated by Christian community members in Chennai, Velankanni, Nagapattinam and other places would also stand banned, and the ban on religious processions and communal festivals would continue due to the COVID-19 situation.

The G.O. was produced in court during the hearing of a public interest litigation petition filed by K. Gopinath of the Hindu Munnetra Kazhagam. He had sought a direction to the State government to lay down a standard operating procedure for the Vinayaka Chaturthi celebrations this year. He said that the government had already laid down the guidelines.

After recording his submissions, the judges disposed of the PIL petition.

They wrote: “The instructions issued by the State indicate that smaller temples would be kept open on the relevant date. However, the COVID-19 protocol should always be maintained at all times. As far as Ganesh idols are concerned, the State says that in keeping with the practice followed the previous year, the worshipped idols may be kept outside the doors for HR & CE department personnel to collect the same and immerse the idols in a regulated manner in any appropriate waterbody.”


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Printable version | Oct 25, 2021 1:58:18 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/vinayaka-chaturthi-public-celebrations-banned-based-on-home-ministry-advice/article36328835.ece

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