There will be no communal tension in the sensitive Rabodi area of Thane during the Ganpati festival, the Thane police assured the Bombay High Court on Wednesday.
The Thane police said this in response to a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by three residents of Rabodi, Nitin Deshpande, Manohar Panshikar and Azaz Shaikh, seeking a change in the traditional route of the procession on immersion day.
A division bench of Justice Ranjana Desai and Justice R.V. More expressed satisfaction with the police’s efforts to maintain harmony but said that the police will be held responsible if any untoward incident takes place during the immersions.
“Eid is also coming. Muslims are not objecting to the Ganpati procession. Why are you creating a rift between both communities?” Justice Desai said while disposing of the PIL.
The PIL said Rabodi has witnessed three communal riots between September 2008 and March 2009 and residents are living in fear due to these recurring incidents.
The riots had caused damages worth Rs 3 crore, the PIL said.
The residents wanted the commissioner of police to notify an alternative route for processions to the immersion point and issue prohibitory orders on the existing route under the Bombay Police Act.
The existing 1.6-km passes by schools, hospitals, a burial ground and a mosque while the alternative one-km Akash Ganga Complex-Thane jail route has none of these structures.
Additional government pleader Rajesh Behre told the court that there is communal harmony in the area and there was no need for another route.
Rupsingh Singa Tadvi, assistant commissioner of police, Naupada division, filed an affidavit saying the police have taken a lot of effort to maintain communal harmony in the area.
Tadvi’s affidavit states that in 2009, Muslims welcomed the Ganesh idol with garlands and served water to those participating in the procession.
Justice Desai said: “We are putting the burden on the ACP. If something happens, they (the state) will take action against him.”