Police in Hyderabad have made elaborate arrangements for the 11-day Ganesh festival which began Saturday with the installation of hundreds of idols of the elephant-headed god..
Vinayaka Chaturthi, which mark the beginning of the festival, was celebrated with religious fervour and gaiety as devotees thronged the markets to purchase idols.
Policemen were deployed in large numbers, especially in communally sensitive areas in old city, as the festival coincided with Eid. Elaborate security arrangements were made at places of worship to maintain law and order.
Trucks carrying huge Ganesh idols were making their way from Dhoolpet, the largest idol-making market, to various places in the city and its outskirts as the devotees holding them raised slogans.
Ganesh pandals or makeshift platforms were erected on roads and streets at hundreds of places in the city to install the idols.
Like in the past, the biggest Ganesh idol has been installed in Khairatabad. Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan prayed at the 54-foot tall idol, which has a 500 kg 'laddu' in its hand. The laddu is auctioned on the last day of the festival.
The 11-day festival will culminate into a massive immersion procession Sep 22. Hyderabad Police Commissioner A.K. Khan said 43,000 policemen would be deployed for the annual procession.
Bhagyanagar Ganesh Utsav Samiti has been taking out the procession for the last 25 years. Since communal riots had broke out during the procession in the past, the authorities draft thousands of policemen from outside the state and the paramilitary forces every year to prevent any untoward incident.
Meanwhile, Khan expressed his happiness over Eid and Ganesh Chaturthi being celebrated on one day. 'This city is a symbol of peace and communal harmony and the two festivals coinciding with each other will further promote amity among the two communities,' he said.