Chennai Police Issues Stringent Guidelines for Ganesh Chaturthi Celebrations

In a move that has sparked controversy and debate, the Greater Chennai Police has issued a comprehensive set of guidelines for Hindus intending to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi, particularly concerning the installation and immersion of Lord Ganesha idols. The announcement comes in the wake of a recent case involving the sealing of Ganesha idols crafted by artisans in Tamil Nadu.

The new directives mandate that Hindus must obtain permission from multiple government departments, including the electricity department, police, fire department, highway department, and local bodies, before setting up a Vinayagar (Ganesh) pandal. These stringent conditions, imposed in the DMK-ruled state, have raised concerns and debates regarding religious freedom and cultural practices.

The key guidelines issued by the Greater Chennai Police are as follows:

  1. Land Permission: Those intending to install Ganesh idols on land must seek permission from local bodies, the highway department, and other relevant government departments.
  2. Safety Checks: Obtain a no objection certificate (NOC) from the fire department and electricity department to ensure safety during the celebrations.
  3. Police Permission: After adhering to all the necessary rules, individuals must fill out a form and seek permission from the local police station to proceed with their celebrations.
  4. Idol Height Restriction: The height of Ganesh idols should not exceed 10 feet, limiting the size of the statues.
  5. Proximity to Sensitive Areas: Statues cannot be erected in close proximity to religious places, hospitals, or schools.
  6. Respectful Behavior: Participants are urged not to raise religious slogans that may offend individuals of other faiths.
  7. Security Measures: At all times, two individuals must be stationed near the statues to ensure security and prevent any untoward incidents.
  8. Non-Political Stance: Banners and posters endorsing any political party are prohibited at puja pandals to maintain a non-political atmosphere.
  9. Fire Safety Compliance: Strict adherence to fire safety rules is required, with constant monitoring to prevent accidents.
  10. Controlled Immersion: Idols should only be immersed on days designated by the police. During immersion, the idols should be transported in four-wheelers and follow prescribed routes.
  11. Firecracker Ban: Firecrackers are strictly prohibited during Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations, both during pandals and during the immersion procession.

These new regulations have raised concerns among the Hindu community, who view them as restrictive and potentially infringing upon their religious freedoms. Critics argue that while safety is important, such stringent guidelines may undermine the cultural and traditional aspects of Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations.

The Greater Chennai Police, however, have defended these guidelines, emphasizing the importance of safety, environmental consciousness, and communal harmony during the festival. As the Ganesh Chaturthi festival approaches, it remains to be seen how these regulations will impact the traditional celebrations in Tamil Nadu’s capital.


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