Around 45 Indians were briefly detained by police for performing an idol immersion ceremony on Jumeirah Beach in Dubai, reports said on Tuesday.
The group was detained in the last week of September while they were immersing an idol during the 'Ganesh Chaturthi' festival after police received a complaint,
"It was after midnight and I was passing by the area when I saw the police surrounding the place. They brought two big buses and took the Indian group away," an eyewitness told the paper.
"There were both men and women, as well as some old people and children in the area, and they were carrying small statues in their hands," he said.
The paper, quoting police sources, said the worshippers were taken to the police station for questioning but were later released without charge.
Prominent lawyer Abdul Hameed Al-Kumaity said there was no law in the UAE which prevented such religious gatherings. "Everybody in this country can practice his religion and can maintain their traditions. The law gives the absolute right for any resident to practice their beliefs as long as it's appropriate and doesn't affect society," he told the paper.
"It seems that the police were suspicious of this strange ceremony and they obviously didn't know that it's just a tradition," he said.