Police warn Thane's Ganesh pandal to steer clear of 'provocative' decorations
The Shiv Sena (UBT)-controlled Vijay Tarun Mandal at Kalyan, known for showcasing current events through their annual decorations, has chosen "democracy is at peril" as this year's theme.
The police in Maharashtra’s Thane district have served a notice on a Ganesh pandal, which faced action last year over its decoration related to the split in the Shiv Sena, to desist from using any display material or audio clips that could trigger law and order problems, the organisers said on Wednesday, 20 September.
According to a functionary of the Shiv Sena (UBT)-controlled Vijay Tarun Mandal at Kalyan, their theme for the year is “democracy is at peril”. The Mahatma Phule Chowk police sent them a notice on Monday, 18 September, he said.
Last year, the police seized their decoration material about the division in the Shiv Sena and filed a case against the mandal. The matter was resolved after the mandal challenged the police action in the Bombay High Court.
Referring to last year’s action against the mandal, the notice said any attempts to “provoke” or have decoration materials that can potentially lead to a fight between “two groups, communities, and religions and result in law and order problems” will prompt the police to act.
Kalyan chief of Sena (UBT) Vijay Salvi, who heads the mandal, told the media on Wednesday, 20 September that this is their 60th year of Ganesh festival celebrations and this year’s decoration integrated with audio clips sends out the message “democracy is at peril”.
Salvi said they depict topical events through decorations and other installations at their Ganesh pandal every year. “This year, we feel democracy is at peril due to the prevailing situation and the government control. We have tried to convey that through our decorations and the message is based on the V-dem Democracy report,” he said.
The Sena (UBT) leader said they had shared the details about their decoration plans with the police two weeks ago. “The police have only served a notice this time,” he said.