Major Ganapati groups halt procession around midnight demanding they be allowed to play dhols; Commissioner of Police Borwankar vows action against errant mandals
The city police could finally heave a sigh of relief after the ringing of the last of the dholaks came to a halt.
Amid repeated terror inputs, the Ganapati immersion procession ended peacefully in the city. The 48 hours of tension finally receded into an uneasy calm when the last Ganesh mandal - one from Kasewadi bid adieu to bappa at 1.45 pm yesterday.
So long, farewell: The Gajanan Laxmi chariot of Shrimant Dagadushet
Mandal trundles along at Samadhan Chowk during the immersion
procession. pic/Krunal Gosavi
The immersion procession trailed by 27 hours and 47 minutes. It was observed that Akhil Mandai Mandal, Shrimant Dagadushet Mandal, Babugenu Mandal and Bhau Rangari Mandals insisted on continuing with the dhol pathaks. But almost 90 per cent of other small and big mandals co-operated with the police and stopped the DJ music and dhol pathaks in between 12 am to 6 am.
The police had sent a stern message on Monday and said no mandals would be favoured and those who did not adhere to the Supreme Court guidelines would be prosecuted. "Action will be taken against all mandals who did not adhere to the regulations," said Commissioner of Police Meeran Chaddha Borwankar. She also appealed to the citizens to come forward and pressurise errant mandals to follow norms set by the police.
The delay for the procession was also attributed to the first five honoured Ganapatis or Manache Ganapati which did not stick to their schedules and engaged in their paraphernalia of dhol pathaks. Also some mandals halted the procession around 12 am demanding that the traditional dhol pathaks be allowed to play. Some four to five mandals like Shivramdada Mandal chose to carry their Ganesh idol, leaving their procession tableaux far behind.
Police Commissioner stays away
Commissioner of Police Meeran Chaddha Borwankar's absence during the immersion procession sparked a debate. Borwankar said her decision to stay away from the starting point of the procession was a conscious one. As a tradition that has been followed for many years, the city police commissioner is present at the Bellbaug chowk to welcome the visarjan processions. The commissioner also performs aarti for a few select mandals, which has led to many controversies as mandals sometimes complain of favouritism. This is the reason, it is believed, Borawankar decided to stay away. "All mandals are equal for me. So, I chose to stay away from Belbag Chowk," said Borwankar, who was present from 12.30 am to 4.30 am at the Sambhaji police chowky near Alka Talkies Chowk, giving instruction to her subordinates.
Procession routes and no of mandals
Laxmi Road: 279
Tilak Road: 155
Kumthekar Road: 25
Kelkar Road: 72
Immersion timings Manache Ganapatis
Kasba Ganapati: 3.52 pm
Tambadi Jogeshwari: 4.37 pm
Guruji Talim: 6.35 pm
Tulshibaug Mandal: 6.55 pm
Kesariwada Mandal: 7.05 pm
This year there was considerable gap between the immersion timings of Manache Ganapatis, namely Tambadi Jogeshwari Mandal and Guruji Talim Mandal. Guruji Talim Mandal, which celebrated its 125th year, had paraphernalia of pathaks, while many troupes performing adventurous acts accompanied the Tulashibaug Mandal.
Other major mandals
Bhau Rangari: 5.55 am
Akhil Mandai Mandal: 6.12 am
Dagadushet Mandal: 7.15 am