Ganesh Utsav committee members arrested in Hyderabad

Police stop bike rally organised to press demand for immersing PoP Ganesh idols in lakes

HYDERABAD: Hyderabad police thwarted an attempt by the Bhagyanagar Ganesh Utsav Samiti (BGUS) to hold a bike rally on Tank Bund and arrested scores of its members including its vice-president and secretaries who were demanding all idols be immersed in the Hussainsagar. The rally was not allowed due to the prohibitory orders in place in view of the Assembly session. BGUS leaders including Bhagwanth Rao, R. Shashidhar and Murari sat on an indefinite hunger strike at Ramgopalpet police station, where they were shifted for preventive custody.

They alleged that the state government was using the police and insulting the tradition and the sentiments of the devotees. “ We demand that the government take necessary measures to ensure a smooth nimajjanam at Hussainsagar,” a BGUS activist demanded.

“Police wanted to release us, but we will not leave the police station till the government makes an announcement on the immersion arrangements. We are even ready to go to jail for this cause,” the BGUS leaders said.

Later in evening, after their release, they continued the hunger strike at their office in Siddiamber Bazaar.

As per the orders of the Telangana High Court, the government said only clay idols will be allowed to be immersed in city lakes, including Hussainsagar.

BGUS general secretary Dr Bhagvanth Rao maintained that the High Court judgment violated the constitutional right to freedom of religion. He said the committee felt the judgment is due to “misinformation” presented in High Court by state government that idols made of Plaster of Paris pollute the lake.

Last year, the Supreme Court Thursday granted "last chance" to Telangana authorities to permit immersion of Lord 'Ganesh idols' made up of plaster of Paris in Hussainsagar Lake in Hyderabad.

On Monday, Hyderabad city police said that they had not received any application seeking permission for the bike rally. "Since the Assembly session will be in progress, such mass gatherings are prohibited in the area," police said.

“Holding such rallies is illegal. According to the City Police Act, for holding such events, permission is mandatory. Any violation will be treated as per the law. Further, due to the Assembly session in progress, prohibitory orders are already in effect within a four-km radius around the Assembly," said a city police official.

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