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SI suspended for ‘unofficial’ memo on festival curbs

Sub-inspector of Irala police station S. Lokesh was suspended on Wednesday in connection with an “unofficial” memo on restrictions on Vinayaka Chavithi’s celebrations in public places.

On Tuesday, a memo with the signature of the official went viral on social media, which attracted the attention of senior officials, leading to his suspension.

A senior police officer said the suspension of the sub-inspector, who recently took charge on probation, was unfortunate. Sources said that as the famous Lord Varasiddi Vinayaka Swamy temple at Kanipakam is located in Irala mandal, the official had issued a written note to caution individuals and social groups to stay away from celebrating Vinayaka Chavithi as a community festival, and limit the festivities within households in view of the threat of COVID third wave.

Chittoor district witnesses a high profile celebration of Vinayaka Chavithi in Tirupati, Srikalahasti and Chittoor, apart from the border towns and villages with Tamil Nadu. The Kanipakam temple administered by the Endowments Department is also celebrating the annual Brahmotsavams in a low-key without public gatherings for the second consecutive year due to the pandemic.

At many places, the municipal authorities cautioned people not to celebrate the festival in public places, while the police denyied permissions for erecting pandals in public areas.

“The restriction on celebrating the festival with community gathering has assumed political colour now. The officials at the mandal and circle levels should obtain prior permission from the superiors if they want to issue any circular to impose the restrictions,” a senior police officer observed.

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