The Ganesh idol immersion processions in Maharashtra were marred by the death of at least eleven people in parts of the state, even as devotees in the state thronged in large numbers to bid adieu to the popular elephant-headed God.
Three persons drowned during Ganesh idol immersion in the Shivnai lake near Bidkin in Aurangabad district, police said.
Officials from state police headquarters here said that apart from the three deaths in Aurangabad, four people lost their lives in Pune, two in Jalgaon and one each in Nashik and Beed districts. However, exact details about their deaths are not immediately known.
In Mumbai, the idol at the official residence of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was immersed in an artificial pond.
In Nashik, minister Girish Mahajan joined the lezim players during the immersion procession, while Shiv Sena MP Chandrakant Khaire tapped a foot in the Ganesh visarjan procession in Aurangabad city. Lezim is a folk dance from the state, named after a musical instrument with jingling cymbals.
In Aurangabad, the Sansthan Ganpati idol was showered with petals from a drone.
In Mumbai, among the early starters for the immersion were the Ganesh Galli Mandal and Lalbaughcha Raja, which attracted lakhs of devotees during the Ganesh festival, that began on August 25 and concludes on ‘Anant Chaturdashi’ on Tuesday.
Several devotees performed Koli dance, a traditional dance of the fishermen, at the Lalbaughcha Raja pandal in central Mumbai before the ‘visarjan’ (immersion) procession began.
The immersion marks the end of the Ganesh festival, which was popularised by ‘Lokmanya’ Bal Gangadhar Tilak to bring the people together to create a feeling of patriotism and fight the British Raj.
Over 7,600 Ganesh idols installed at public places and more than one lakh idols in homes will be immersed on Tuesday. By 3 pm, around 80 public idols and 3,600 ‘gharguti’ (home) idols were immersed, an official of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said.
The smaller idols were immersed first, and will be followed by the big ones like Lalbaugcha Raja, which will be immersed in the Arabian Sea at Girgaum Chowpatty in south Mumbai.
The BMC, police, Coast Guard and Navy have made elaborate arrangements to ensure smooth and safe immersion of the idols.
The prime locations for immersion are Girgaum Chowpatty, Juhu beach, Powai lake, Dadar Chowpatty, Madh jetty and Marve in Malad.
The BMC has appealed the devotees to inform the civic authorities as and when they need any assistance or if they are stung by jelly fish or sting ray.
Police have beefed up security and companies of the State Reserve Police Force are also being deployed.
Cranes, watchtowers, drones, CCTVs and floodlights have been arranged to keep a watch on every movement of the revellers and devotees, a police official earlier said.