Behave with women or face action, Patil warns

Mumbai, Sep. Sep 16 : Maharashtra Home Minister R.R. Patil Monday issued a stern warning to all Ganeshotsav organisers and volunteers to "behave" with women devotees or face action.

"We have learnt of instances in which volunteers of some Ganeshotsav mandals have misbehaved with women devotees. Mumbai police will serve a notice to them asking them to explain," a grim Patil told the media.

The warning came after volunteers at the famous Lalbaugcha Raja Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal in Parel pushed and dragged many women, in some cases by their hair, during the ongoing 10-day festival.

Many indignant women strongly protested at the outrage and demanded to know how the volunteers dared to touch the female devotees.

The incidents were telecast on TV channels and social networking sites, sparking off strong protests especially since the devotees queue up for 8-10 hours before getting to glimpse their elephant-headed god.

Lalbaugcha Raja, Mumbai's most favourite idol of Lord Ganesh, attracts an average of around 1.20 million devotees a day.

However, many women devotees have been facing hardships and humiliation at the hands of the overzealous volunteers.

Patil's remarks came at the launch of 'A Minute For Mumbai', a new security initiative launched by police for the 17 million Mumbaikars in collaboration with ICICI Bank.

The programme will be conducted through awareness campaigns, advertisements and other modes with a generous contribution of Rs.12.50 million by ICICI Bank.

--IANS (Posted on 16-09-2013)

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