VARANASI: Following the police action and cane charge to disperse the gathering of Ganesh Puja organisers and seers and immersing the Murthi of Lord Ganesha in Laxmikund (pond) instead of river Ganga on Tuesday midnight, the emergency ward of the divisional hospital, where injured seers are admitted, has been seemingly converted into a political center on Wednesday.
Injured seers including Swami Avimukteshwaranand Saraswati of Vidya Mutt and Mahant Balak Das of Patalpuri Mutt, who have been admitted to SPG divisional hospital, told reporters, “We have contacted Shankaracharyas including Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati and Akhada Parishad at Nasik Kumbh to apprise them of the police brutality committed to us and people gathered in support of demand to immerse the idol in Ganga.” Swami Avimukteshwaranand said that he was still continuing fast unto death stir and after getting released from hospital he will move across the city to ask people whether treatment given to Lord Ganesh idol and agitators by district administration and police was correct.
He said, “Massive agitation launched in Varanasi on the direction of Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati had resulted in declaration of Ganga as national river by union government. We are still rigid on our demand to maintain flow of Ganga water to make the holy river pollution free. But, immersion of Murthis can’t be stopped in the name of making the river free from pollution as it is our `Shastra Parampara’ (traditions mentioned in Shastras).”
Presence of seers in hospital made the politicians especially from Congress and Qaumi Ekta Dal of mafia don turned MLA Mukhtar Ansari to reach there for showing solidarity with them by condemning police action. However, Bhartiya Janata Party leaders maintained distance from these seers till afternoon. Some protests against police action like burning symbolic effigies of district administration and police were also evident in some parts of city like Jagatganj area.
The crisis had started on Monday evening when in view of Allahabad high court order to ban immersion of Murthis in Ganga the district administration and police stopped the immersion procession of Sri Kashi Maratha Utsav Samiti at Godowlia crossing when they were marching towards Dashaswamedh Ghat to immerse the idol in river Ganga.
It led to beginning of a sit-in stir on road followed by joining of agitation by seers including Mahant Balak Dast and Swami Avimukteshwaranand while groups of Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Vishwa Hindu Mahasabha, Hindu Yuva Vahini, Shiv Sena and Bajrang Dal activists also joined the agitating Ganeshotsava organisers on Tuesday. The Hindu Yuva Vahini also gave the call for Varanasi bandh, which evoked poor response.
As the district magistrate Rajmani Yadav cleared the stand of administration that contempt of HC’s order to ban immersion of idols in Ganga after Vishwakarma, Ganesh and Durga Pujas will not be allowed at any cost, his subordinates kept the procession stopped and tried to convince the demonstrators to take the Nurthi at alternative designated sites for immersion. Due to increasing support of people a high voltage drama was evident at Godowlia crossing till midnight on Tuesday. It led to cane charge by police in which Swami Avimukteshwaranad, Mahant Balak Das and their disciples suffered injuries. They were rushed to SPG divisional hospital, while the idol was taken to Laxmikund pond for immersion by the police.
Times of India