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Karnataka Govt Allows Ganesh Chaturthi Public Gatherings Day After Hindu Groups’ Protest

A woman walks past idols depicting the current pandemic scenario in Bengaluru. (AFP)

A woman walks past idols depicting the current pandemic scenario in Bengaluru. (AFP)

Last week, the state government had banned gatherings, apprehending public installations could lead to a spike in Covid-19 cases.

In a major shift from its earlier decision to ban all public installations/ pandals for Ganesh Chaturthi festival, the Karnataka government on Tuesday allowed all public installations in a restricted manner.

This decision came a day after Hindu groups such as the Pramod Muthalik-headed Rama Sena, staged protests in Dharwad area, questioning why the government which has allowed to open bars and liquor stores, could not allow public installation of Ganesha idols.

Last week, the state government had banned gatherings, apprehending public installations could lead to a spike in Covid-19 cases.

However, now the fresh guidelines state that public installations are allowed but not more than 20 people should gather at any given point of time. Ganesha idols must also not be over 4 feet high in public places (government/ public/ privately-owned grounds, street chowks), and not over 2 feet high in homes, it added.

Local representatives and officials have been asked to persuade citizens that only one public installation be allowed in each ward and each village. While the processions while buying or during immersion of idols will remain prohibited.

The government has also banned music, cultural, and other events as part of the Ganesha festival. And the idols must be immersed in designated tanks/ mobile tanks only, after being taken to the spot in the shortest possible route.

The government is yet to notify whether there is any change instance as far as observing Muharram is concerned, where public gatherings again had been banned. Muharram falls on August 29, a week after Ganesha Chaturthi.