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Pune Ganapati fest organisations brace to beat terror

Aug 31, 2008 10:52 PM IST India India

Pune: A tight security net will be the top most priority during the 10-day-long Ganapati festival, in Pune this year. Some of the big local organisations called ‘mandals’ had even decided to cancel major programmes until support came in from various religious organizations. The Ganapati pandal here attracts lakhs of devotees every year. But this year the mandal had almost canceled the 'Maha -aarti', which is the most spectacular event in the city during the 10 day long festival. Here, over 15 thousand women come together for mass recital of Ganesha aarti. Dagduseth Halwai Ganapati Mandal is one such group and the Dagduseth Ganapati being almost a brand in itself, security is a major issue, here. Thousands and thousands of people throng everyday for a glimpse or paying obeisance and that necessitates safety and security measures. Even the cherished idol and the expensive paraphernalia around it needs security. The trustee of the Dagduseth Ganapati Mandal, Ashok Godse said, “We were warned that in light of security situations dwindling across the country, we must be careful too. So we have hired 500 security agents who will work closely with our 1000 volunteers to check safety measures round the clock. " CCTV cameras will cover the entire set of the pandal, apart from the personal security guards and thousands of volunteers who will keep a tight vigil during the 10 days of the festival. Mobile phone jammers, too have been fixed in the temple area. Organizers are now hoping that the 'maha-aarti' will be conducted smoothly and attract more participants without any fear. Help is pouring in from all quarters, as well. Azam campus, an educational institute for girls and women, run by an Islamic organisation is one such entity. Trustee of the Azam campus, Abeda Inamdar said, "2000 girls and women from our organisation will form a safety net and cordon at the event. We will personally ensure that the Maha Aarti, an affair attended by lakhs becomes a memorable and happy affair." The Azam institute has come forward to show solidarity against terrorism by promising support and added hues of communal harmony to the story. In the backdrop of terrorist attacks in some of the major cities across the country, other Sarvajanik (public) Ganapati Mandals in Pune too, are being extra cautious while preparing for this year's Ganapati festival. After all it is the major festival of the state of Maharashtra, which has seen numerous terrorist attacks of late.