Chennai: All roads seemed to lead to the sea in Chennai on Sunday, with thousands of processions making their way to the designated areas for the immersion of Ganesha idols in the sea. Overall, no major incidents were reported from any of the sites. But police seems to be caught by surprise in some of the locations over the larger-than-expected turnout of public to view the immersions. Only one minor incident was reported, from the Zam Bazaar area, where a procession got stuck on a narrow turning. This led to a minor scuffle between the police and those organising the procession, but was sorted out quickly.
The designated immersion sites at Marina and Foreshore Estate saw a good measure of security, with barricades put up to control the movement of devotees. Good crowds turned up at these locations. But the immersion site at Palavakkam turned out to be a surprise for the police. “The crowd was at least twice or thrice what we had expected. A lot of people have turned up as families. This seems to have become a perfect Sunday evening outing,” said a police officer. Though the approach to the beach had not been barricaded, he said there was little to worry about, as police personnel were patrolling the shoreline on foot.
While the large crowds put police on alert, organisers who had put up pandals across the city said they were gratified with the turnout. “The crowds are getting bigger every year. But this year was a large turnout indeed, thanks to the fact that it was a Sunday. We cannot be assured of such a turnout next year, but it is gratifying to see young people bringing their children to such events,” said Murugesan, who led a procession from Chinmaya Nagar.
Thousands of processions made their way to the designated areas for the immersion of Ganesha idols in the sea.
In all, about 1,450 idols were immersed. Police had made elaborate arrangements at the immersion points like deploying cranes, life-saving teams and medical teams. Elaborate arrangements on the procession routes and immersion points were made with senior officers supervising the security arrangements at sensitive and strategic locations.
A total strength of 12,000 police personnel, including Armed Reserve, Tamil Nadu Special Police, Swift Action Group and Home Guards were deployed. Leaders of Hindu organisations and other groups extended their full co-operation to the police in facilitating the smooth conduct of processions. Ramagopalan, leader of Hindu Munnani, was arrested at Triplicane when he attempted to take out an idol procession in a prohibited route, and later released, the release added.