Members of ‘Sri Kashi Maratha Ganesha Utsav Samiti’ staged a dharna here in protest against preventing them from immersing the Ganesha idols into Ganga in view of the High Court’s decision.
Ganesha Utsav Samiti’s procession was on its way to immerse the idols in Dashashwamedh ghat last evening. But police stopped them at Godowalia crossing, 300 hundred metres away from the river, said Vivek Tiwari, a member of the Samiti.
Since then, the devotees are sitting on a dharna there. They were joined by sadhus and over 1,000 people this morning, he added.
The ADM Vindhyavasini Rai and SP, city, Sudhakar Yadav said that as the idols cannot be immersed in the Dashashwamedh Ghat due to High Court’s order, we suggested the puja organisers alternative sites.
But Samiti members were not ready to immerse the idol in alternative water bodies, they added.
A large number of police force has been deployed in and around the area and the situation is under control, Yadav said.
However, nearby markets remained shut in wake of the dharna.
Swami Avimukteshwaranand Saraswati, who participated in the dharna along with his supporters said that the high court and the Varanasi district administration should understand “our religious sentiments and they should not make any attempt in tempering with our ancient culture and tradition.
“When our God (Ganesha Idol) is kept on road from the last 24 hours, how can we move from here, we too are sitting here on the road and will continue to stage our sit in till the idol is immersed in the holy river Ganga.
“You (court) would allow sewage and chemical drainage into the river Ganga, but won’t allow the idol immersion in the river. Are you not playing with our religious sentiments, we would urge you to make a laboratory test that whether any pollution takes place from our idol immersion. If you are right then put us in jail,” Swami Avimukteshwaranand said.
The Allahabad high court had ordered for ban of idol immersion in Ganga to curb polluting of the river. The imposition was relaxed, especially for Varanasi for a year due to its geographical area. This relaxation ended this year.