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Maharashtra celebrates Ganesh festival amidst tight security 

Mumbai, September 13

Idols of the elephant-headed Lord Ganesha of different shapes, sizes and colours were installed at homes, public spaces and on the streets as the ten-day Ganesh festival began across Maharashtra amidst tightsecurity.

In Mumbai alone around 3 lakh idols of different sizes have been installed at public venues homes according to the Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti (BSGSS), the umbrella body of
Ganesh festival organizers.

Police said security was especially tight this year after some members of the Hindu right-wing Sanatan Sanstha, who were arrested with explosives, confessed to planning bomb blasts at Ganesh festival venues to spark off communal clashes across the state.

“Leave of all police personnel were cancelled in Mumbai and 15,000 security personnel including state reserve police, riot control force and the bomb disposal squad have been deployed on the roads,” according to a police spokesperson. The police also installed CCTV cameras at beachfronts where devotees are expected to immerse idols of Lord Ganesh from Friday.

As usual, crowds thronged outside the homes of film stars and celebrities to watch them celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi. Pictures of Arpita Khan, sister of actor Salman Khan, bringing home an idol of Lord Ganesh came up on social media. The Khan family is known to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi in a big way.

Pictures of Maharashtra’s top politicians cutting across party lines worshipping Lord Ganesha also made it to social media. Chief MinisterDevendra Fadnavis and other ministers in the state cabinet, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, Congress party leader Sushilkumar Shinde and Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi were among prominent leaders who installed idols of Lord Ganesha in their homes.

According to information available from the police and the fire brigade, theGSB Seva Mandal at Kings Circle in North Central Mumbai adorned its 14.5 feet tall Ganesh statue with more than 68 kg of 22-carat gold and 327 kg pure silver apart from diamond-studded jewellery. Like in the earlier years, it is billed as Mumbai’s richest Ganpati and insured for crores of rupees.

Some of the other notable Ganesh pandals like Lalbaugcha Raja and Parelcha Raja too put up elaborate pandals that drew lakhs of devotees.

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