Hyderabad: The Ganesh immersion procession, which started from Balapur in the Old City, passed off peacefully through Charminar on Thursday amid tight security. RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat paid a visit to Bhagya Laxmi Mandir abutting Charminar and welcomed the devotees.
For the first time, ‘Marfa’ drum was used in Ganesh procession by some Ganesh associations. Marfa is a traditional Afro-Arab band that was introduced in Hyderabad during the 18th Century by the Arab community from Yemen.
Barricades were removed around the Charminar to ensure easy passage of vehicles. Automatic Security Bollards fixed at Gulzar Houz were brought down. Vehicular movement was not allowed on the main road. However, there was no restriction on traffic within the inner roads and by-lanes of the Old City.
Vehicles carrying Ganesh idols started reaching Charminar around noon. Arrival of vehicles carrying idols peaked from 3 to 5 pm The Ganesh idol from Balapur reached Charminar at around 4:00 p.m. No untoward incident was reported in the Old City.
Police made tight security arrangement as the procession passed through communally sensitive areas of the Old City. A large number of police personnel were deployed, including those from the APSP, Railway Police, Rapid Action Force (RAF), Greyhounds and OCTOPUS. Exteriors of mosques were covered with cloth veils. Police personnel were deployed in front of each mosque to avoid any untoward incident.
Visitors were not allowed to enter the Mecca Masjid. The number of people praying at this masjid too was very less. A team of 120 youths wearing distinct T shirts, most of them belonging to the Muslim community extended voluntary services to the Police Department under the banner of Peace Army, an NGO.