In its latest circular, issued two days ahead of Vinayaka Chaturthi, Tamil Nadu government has stood by its earlier decision of prohibiting celebrations in public places.
The state government had prohibited public installation and worship of Ganesh idols, celebration of the festival in public places and public processions with the idols. It had instead requested all those celebrating the festival, to do so within their houses.
According to its latest release, issued on Thursday, 20 August, the Tamil Nadu government has reiterated that as per the Union Home Ministry’s notification under the National Disaster Management Act, 2005 issued on 29 July, religious festivals, mass prayers, etc continue to be banned in the country. “Keeping in mind the Centre’s instructions and the prevalence of COVID-19 in the state, the government has made its decision,” reads the Tamil Nadu government’s release.
It has also pointed out that in response to the several public interest litigations filed, the Madras High Court had ordered to follow state government’s directive.
Meanwhile, the Madras High Court on Thursday has directed the state government to find out within a day the impact this ban on public celebrations will have on the lives of artisans who make the idols and check if some relaxations can be made in this regard.
Justice MM Sundresh of Madras HC asks TN Govt to find out by tomorrow if some relaxation can be provided with regard to Vinayagar Chathurthi celebrations in the interest of artisans who may have to suffer huge losses due to complete ban @THChennai— Mohamed Imranullah S (@imranhindu) August 20, 2020
Pressure to Withdraw Banning of Public Celebrations
The Tamil Nadu government had come under pressure to withdraw its order banning public celebrations.
According to Frontline, BJP Tamil Nadu President L Murugan, Hindu Makkal Munnani State president K. Subramaniyan, and two others met with Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami to relax the rules over the celebrations. However, the CM remained firm on the decision, further straining ties between the AIADMK and its ally the BJP.
Hindu Munani had announced that it had planned to defy the government’s directive and install Vinayaka idols in 1.5 lakh locations across the state on 22 August. BJP's state President L Murugan on Thursday said that BJP, too, would follow Hindu Munnani's decision in this matter.
War of Words Online Between BJP and AIADMK
The fight over Vinayaka Chaturthi celebrations in Tamil Nadu took a turn for the worse with state political parties engaging in a war of words online. The BJP resorted to public bashing of its ally the ruling AIADMK, with both parties using sexist comments. One BJP leader went on to say that AIADMK was a party that hid behind a woman's saree for 30 years, in an indirect reference to former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.
The Tamil Nadu government had on August 13 issued a circular prohibiting residents from celebrating the Vinayaka Chaturthi in public areas. The state has issued a circular banning the installation, procession and immersion of Vinayaka idols in public, to avoid large crowds from gathering amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.The government also requested residents to celebrate the festival in their homes.
(Published in an arrangement with The News Minute.)
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