Trouble brews in Karnataka ahead of Ganesha festival
Police officers start conducting meetings with leaders of Hindu and Muslim communities to ensure that the situation does not go out of hand
Karnataka Police is on alert amid reports that a few right-wing outfits are allegedly planning to create trouble during annual Ganesha festival next week.
Police officers have started meetingleaders of Hindu and Muslim communities and holding peace committee meetings to ensure that the situation does not go out of hand. The home and intelligence departments have issued orders to officers to keep strict vigil and take precautionary measures.
There are several government schools, colleges, and universities where local youth bodies and old students have celebrated Ganesha festival for years. But funds for these were collected by the organisers.
A senior police official told The Federal that some fringe elements were preparing to fan communal fire and the police is taking all steps to prevent untoward incidents.
Recently, BJP and ABVP leaders told the vice-chancellor of Mangalore University to release Rs 2 lakh for the festival and said the event must be organized by Mangalore University in its auditorium. The vice-chancellor, Jayaraj Amin, wrote to the government and sought protection.
He accused Mangalore South MLA D Vedavyasa Kamath, BJP leader Santosh Kumar Boliyar and 10 others of putting pressure on him at his office where they reportedly remained for two hours. They reportedly threatened to hold protests if he doesn’t approve.
The vice-chancellor mentioned that the Ganesha festival has been conducted in the men's hostel for 40 long years under the leadership of wardens. In 2021, the university spent Rs 1.52 lakh and in 2022 Rs 1.97 lakh — but that was when the BJP was in power in the state.
Officials say such funds cannot be sanctioned and auditors had indeed raised objections. The government, wanting to tread cautiously, has told the vice chancellor to permit the festival in the university auditorium but not to provide any grants.
Home minister G Parameshwara has asked police officials to keep strict vigil to curb any untoward incident. But they have decided not to disturb programmes being conducted for years.
Outfits are also trying to fish in troubled waters by trying to hold festivals at the Idgah Maidans of Hubli and Chamarajpet in Bengaluru. Though the Mayor of Hubli has permitted Ganesha festivities at Idgah Maidan, some Hindu groups are insisting on a 11-day celebration. As far Bengaluru Chamarajpet's ground is concerned, last year, the court permitted Ganesha festival. This year, some organizers want to prolong the days of the celebrations.