Even as spiritual leader Asaram’s Holi celebrations at Nagpur continued to attract criticism for wastage of water, the issue was further mired in controversy on Monday.
A mob of Asaram’s followers allegedly attacked media personnel, held them hostage and damaged their cameras, at the Holi celebrations organised by the leader at Patni grounds, Airoli. The Navi Mumbai police have arrested 20 people.
The organisers had asked media personnel to occupy a bus from which they could cover the proceedings. During the celebrations, a group of Republican Party of India (RPI) workers arrived at the scene raising slogans against the celebrations. This incensed a section of the gathering, which rushed to attack the party workers, who fled the spot. The mob then turned its fury on the media personnel, who were covering the programme from the bus-top. The mob started pelting stones at the bus, injuring media personnel including HT photographer Bachchan Kumar. It was only after a group of the organisers came over and pacified the protesters that the media persons were allowed to leave.
The media then continued coverage under police protection from a designated area.
Replying to the criticism on wastage of water, Asaram said: “What is the big deal if 10,000 litres of water is used for 6,000 people? It amounts to just half a glass to full glass of water. Besides, the water we are spraying is also good for health.” -- G mohiuddin jeddy