Police action against mandals attracts bouquets, brickbats

NGOs laud cops for booking even big Ganapati mandals for violation of noise norms, animal cruelty; politicians defend Ganesh groups, ask for cases to be withdrawn

The city police may have irked the ire of some of the biggest Ganapati mandals for booking noise pollution and animal cruelty cases against them, but they can take heart from the fact that there are many extolling their action. Praises are pouring in for Commissioner of Police Meeran Borwankar, while Mayor Mohansingh Rajpal's  support for wayward mandals has attracted quite a few reproaches. 

All praise: Social activist Vijay Bhat, who has sent a note of
appreciation to the Commissioner of Police. pic/Vivek Sabnis

Social activist Vijay Bhat shot off a letter of appreciation to Borwankar commending her and the police force.
The police have in all booked 72 Ganapati mandals for violating the Supreme Court directives on noise pollution during the immersion procession. The police have taken action for violation of noise norms between 12 am to 6 am on prestigious mandals, including Dagdushet Ganapati, Akhil Mandai Mandal and Guruji Talim Mandal.
Also, provisions of the Environment (protection) Act do not allow noise to go beyond a certain level when measured on decibel sound metres.

Borwankar had said the police would take action if any mandal violated the law. Four of the seven Manache Ganapati mandals have been booked for violating the noise norms. The mandals publicly denounced the police in a public meeting on Friday after they were booked on Wednesday.

Mayor Mohansingh Rajpal has, however, backed these mandals and publicly announced an indefinite fast from October 1, if the police did not withdraw action. "The Ganapati procession is the city's pride and nobody should prevent this by showing the fear of law," Rajpal said. MLC Dr Neelam Gorhe of Shiv Sena submitted a letter to the state Home Minister asking him to withdraw all the cases.

"Punekars do not agree what the mandals and politicians are doing," said Bhat. Dr Narendra Dabholkar, founder-executive president of Maharashtra Andhashradda Nirmulan Samiti also backed Bhat. "Ganapati is a God of intellect and rational thinking and people (mandals) should introspect themselves," said Dabholkar.

Anupam Saraf, coordinator of Jal Biradari, NGO, said: "We are forgetting the basic lesson taught by Lokmanya Tilak, which was to broaden our social approach. We should avoid this in future and make the Ganeshotsav a model for celebration," Saraf said. Deputy Commissioner of Police Dnyaneshwar Phadtare, Zone I, said: "It is absurd to blame the police as we had already alerted them in advance about action for violation of any rules. We are following the Supreme Court's orders."

Police Inspector Arjun Sakunde, Vishrambaug police station, said: "The law is same for everyone and we have done it as per the orders. Cases of animal cruelty were also registered because no animal should be used more for than two hours at a stretch to pull the Ganapati float. Violations of such incidents happened in big umbers."

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