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K'taka: Court refuses to stay Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations at Hubbali-Dharwad's Idgah ground

Hubballi: Karnataka High Court on Friday rejected Muslim body Anjuman-e-Islam's petition seeking stay on permission granted by the Dharwad Municipal Commissioner to certain Hindu outfits for Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations at the Idgah maidan in Hubbali-Dharwad.
Anjuman-e-Islam had moved court after Hubballi Dharwad Municipal Corporation (HDMC) passed a resolution allowing Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations at the ground.
The HDMC resolution permits the installation of the Ganesh idol at the maidan. However, the permission has not been granted by the Municipal Commissioner, who took charge recently.
Notably, last year, the Karnataka High Court had allowed Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations to go ahead at the Idgah ground in Hubbali.
The order rejecting the petition filed by Anjuman-e-Islam said, the ground is the property of the Hubli-Dharawad Municipal Commission and they can allot the land to whoever they desire so.
The Idgah ground in Hubballi was caught up in a decades-old dispute until 2010, when the Supreme Court held that the ground is the exclusive property of the Hubli-Dharawad Municipal Corporation.
In 1921, the ground was leased to the Anjuman-E-Islam for 999 years to hold prayers. In the 70s, Anjuman E Islam started construction of a commercial complex around the ground situated in heart of the city.
This was challenged in court and a long litigation process followed, which halted in 2010 after the Supreme Court judgment. The apex court granted permission for prayers to be held twice a year and not to build any permanent structure on the ground.
Meanwhile, the BJP on Friday continued its protest outside the HDMC commissioner's office for the second day demanding permission to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi at the Idgah Maidan.
The sit-in protest is being led by Aravind Bellad, a sitting BJP MLA from Hubbali-Dharwad West.
Bellad, along with another BJP MLA Mahesh Tenginkai, mayor of Hubbali-Dharwad West, Veena Bhardwaj and other BJP leaders have been sitting on a 'dharna' from Thursday.
The BJP has accused the Congress government of indulging in ‘appeasement politics”.
"The Congress government is engaging in appeasement politics in quest for minority votes. The 'dharna' (protest) will continue till we have permission to enter (the ground). We won't call off our protest unless an authorisation (to hold Ganesh festivities on the Idgah ground) comes through from the commissioner's office," Bellad told reporters on Thursday.
Karnataka Home Minister G Parameshwara, however, said, "We have left it to the local authorities to give permission to install Ganesh idols." 
State minister Priyank Kharge said, "Who said they are denying?... Denial is when you ask for something and it is not given to you and if they have given it in writing...Where have they denied? Can you show me any document?...As of now, there is no such denial on the permission..."

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