Hindu Munnani stages hunger strike protesting Vinayakar Chathurthi restrictions

CHENNAI . The ‘Hindu Munnani’ (Hindu Front) on Tuesday staged a hunger strike near Valluvar Kottam protesting against Tamil Nadu government’s 24 stringent conditions for celebrating Vinayakar Chathurthi (Ganesh Chaturthi) in the state. Their state president Kadeswara C. Subramaniam led the protest while over 1000 protesters including the Hindu Munnani founder Ramagopalan participated, local media reported.

Photo Credit: @hmrss1980 on Twitter

The state government had earlier issued a government order mandating that it was necessary to get NOCs from at least five different government departments before installing a Vinayakar idol in a public place. The GO also stipulated various other guidelines for the installation, procession, and immersion of Vinayakar idols. The Hindu Munnani said the GO violated the fundamental rights of Hindus and could make the preparations for the festival a bureaucratic nightmare.

When Hindu Munnani went to Madras High Court seeking the quashing of the Government Order, the Court refused the request. But the judge suggested to the state government a single-window system to clear all the applications to install Vinayakar idols and the Advocate General for the state government agreed to it. However, the Hindu Munnani maintains the state government targets only Hindu festivals.

Photo Credit: @hmrss1980 on Twitter

Speaking at the protest, Mr. Subramaniam said, “Government Order should be applicable to everyone. But the Tamil Nadu government targets specifically Hindu festivals to create unnecessary hurdles in order to stop the celebrations”, the local newspaper Daily Thanthi reported. The Chennai city president of the Hindu Munnani, T Elangovan, told India Today, “[T]he Dravidian parties in a way are worried about the unity that the Hindus in the state are having, and thus they are doing this.”

The hunger strike was called off late on Tuesday evening after police officials spoke to those who were protesting and assured them all the help to celebrate the festival in a smooth manner.

Vinayakar Chathurthi is celebrated on September 13 in the state. The Hindu Munnani plans to install 5080 Vinayakar idols in Chennai alone.

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