CRPF personnel from Jammu and Kashmir and other parts of the country are manning ghats in Delhi this year to prevent immersion of idols in the Yamuna during Ganesh Chaturthi.
Stationed on the banks of the river near ITO Tuesday, the personnel said they were called in by Delhi Police to help maintain compliance with immersion norms. Shivesh Mishra (28), a CRPF jawan, said, “My battalion was in Srinagar for the past six months and we have just come to Delhi. We are asking people to immerse their idols in sites designated by authorities.”
The National Green Tribunal had in 2015 banned immersion of idols made out of non-biodegradable material, such as plaster of paris, along with other puja material in the river.
This year, authorities have made artificial ponds at nearly 130 sites across Delhi to immerse idols. Troops stationed on the banks of the Yamuna have been directing people to use these sites.
There have been some instances of people arguing with the troops after being denied permission, but CRPF personnel said proper compliance with rules is largely seen.
“Back in Srinagar, there was a threat to our personal security 24 hours a day… things are much calmer and warmer here,” Mishra said.
Ranjan Pandit (26) said he was stationed in Chhattisgarh before being posted to Delhi. “I was in a forest area; in that region, there are different problems such as frequent attacks on our troops. Coming from there, Delhi seems peaceful right now, but we’re just following orders. If they want us to go somewhere else tomorrow, we will.”
Aditya Kumar (32), who was stationed in Kashmir earlier, said people in the capital have largely been friendly, and “respectful of different religions and cultures”.