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Chhath celebration in Mumbai
Published on 4 Nov. 2008 11:23 PM IST
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Nearly a million people, mostly from north Indian states, took part in the Chhath Puja celebrations Tuesday in Mumbai, where heavy security arrangements were in place in the wake of recent outrage against non-Marashtrians. The Mumbai police control room said there were no reports of any untoward incident from any where in the city. Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray, who spearheaded the campaign against north Indians in Mumbai, had assured no disruption during the celebrations. But the police and paramilitary forces with the help of CCTVS maintained a close watch on the event to thwart any untoward incident. In a pleasant surprise, posters, attributed to the MNS, welcomed the devotees to Bhayander Creek, for the festival, mainly celebrated in Bihar. Devotees offered prayers to the sun god near the main 19 seafront locations in the city. Thousands of people congregated at other places like the Banganga Tank, Navy Nagar, Gorai Creek, Bhayander Creek, Thane Creek, Marve Beach, Manori Beach, Madh Island, beach front in Navi Mumbai and Thane, and the Ulhas River in Thane district. The largest gathering took place at Juhu Beach, where an estimated 400,000 devotees thronged for the prayers, according to Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam. “People were enthusiastic and there was no complaint from any where,” Nirupam told IANS from Juhu Beach, where he remained present all day to supervise the arrangements. A festive atmosphere was witnessed there with devotional songs played on the loudspeakers and the devotees going about their prayers with fervour. For the first time in 10 years since Chhath Puja celebrations started on a mass scale in the city, the state government deployed the Rapid Action Force and State Reserve Police Force to monitor the law and order situation during the celebrations. In Ulhasnagar, neighbouring Thane district, the town’s legislator Suresh Pappu Kalani deployed 1,000 party activists to maintain vigil on the celebrations at the main venue, the banks of Ulhas River, and in the nearby Kalyan-Dombivli towns. The Republican Party of India (RPI) legislator had assured that his party activists would help all north Indians celebrate their traditional festival peacefully.

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