Andhra Pradesh high court allows petitioner to install Ganesh idol at home
The impasse over observing public celebrations of the Ganesh Chaturthi festival finally ended in Andhra Pradesh with the High Court on Wednesday allowing a petitioner to install an idol in his house with a gathering of only five people. The HC clearly stated that the government’s guidelines against public celebrations should not be contravened.
The directions were issued by Justice Cheekati Manavendranath Roy after a write petition was filed by a resident of Autonagar in Andhra Pradesh’s Tirupati city. He had sought permission to install an idol in his house with five people from the district Superintendent of Police. Since it was not given, he approached the HC.
The petitioner told the court that restrictions on celebrating Ganesh or Vinayaka Chaturhti were only for public places. After seeking a response from the state government as well, Justice Roy allowed him to install an idol at his residence, and said that Covid guidelines must be adhered to.
The issue of celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi in AP this year has taken a communal turn, with both the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Telugu Desam PArty (TDP) demanding the ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) to allow it.
TDP national spokesperson Pattabi Ram on Tuesday said that party MLAs and in-charges of all 175 assembly constituencies have been instructed to organise or celebrate the Ganesh Chaturthi festival in a “huge way” while following Covid-19 protocols. “We feel that it is a part of a larger conspiracy by Jagan Reddy to attack one religion,” he alleged.
The AP government decided that Ganesh idols cannot be installed in public places and that immersions this year, along with processions, should be avoided. Prior to this, union home secretary Ajay Bhalla on August 28 issued guidelines to chief secretaries of all states and union territories, informing them that Covid-19 guidelines have been extended till September 30.
AP chief minister Jagan Mohan Reddy held a review meeting on September 2, wherein it was decided to continue the night curfew in AP from 11pm to 6am, keeping in mind the festival season. Based on suggestions from health department officials, it was decided to limit Ganesh (or Vinayaka) Chaturthi celebrations within homes, instead of holding them in public places.
However, a day earlier on September 7, the TDP announced that it would celebrate the festival in all 175 assembly seats and would defy government orders. Prior to that, the BJP also held a protest on September 6 demanding the same thing.