After high drama, civic authorities have allowed Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations at the controversial Idgah Maidan in Karnataka’s Hubballi district. Dharwad-Hubballi City Corporation Commissioner, Ishwar Ullagaddi handed over the permission letter late Friday night to allow the three-day festivities.
The opposition BJP and Hindutva organizations had staged a protest led by saffron party MLAs Arvind Bellad and Mahesh Tenginakayi. The protesters resorted to a road blockade condemning the civic body for not handing over the permission letter even after the High Court judgment.
Police Commissioner Uma Sukumaran and additional police force had rushed to the spot and cleared the roadblock after pacifying the protesters.
Earlier on Friday, the Dharwad bench of the Karnataka High Court on Friday quashed a petition opposing the installation of Ganesh’s idol and celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi in the Idgah Maidan premises.
The petition was submitted by the Anjuman-E-Islam organization opposing the decision of the Hubballi-Dharwad City Corporation to give permission for the celebration of the Ganesh festival in the controversial site.
The approval was given in the general body meeting held last month and later the civic body refused to give permission. The Idgah dispute in Hubballi began in 1971 when the Anjuman-e-Islam tried to construct a shopping complex at the site and erected a building allegedly violating the lease agreement of 1921.
Over the years the dispute took a political turn. In 1992, under the Congress, an attempt was made to hoist the Tricolour on the premiese. However, the then-ruling party stopped the action, debating that the flag could not be hoisted on “disputed” land.
It was feared that the action might lead to communal tension. In 1994, BJP leader Uma Bharti said that on Independence Day she would hoist the Indian flag on the grounds.
However, fearing communal tension, the Congress government imposed a curfew and stopped her and a few others were arrested after forcefully entering the town. Six people were killed in the police firing in the incident.
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