After immense efforts by activists, Police authorities at highest level assured that CEMENT ROAD will not be closed and Devotees would be allowed to use it to visit MOUNT MARY”S BASILICA to seek Blessing from MOTHER MARY.
However, information which has come in is disheartening. Police authorities seem to have gone back on their word and are preventing people from taking that path to Basilica.
Ad. Godfrey Pimenta and Nicholas Almeida of Watchdog Foundation have taken up this issue up to Chief Minister and other concern departments. Yours truely also forwarded the matter to Police commissioner Shri Rakesh Maria with the hope that he will reign in his over enthusiastic officers.
The Letter explains very well as to how the community is being discriminated against. Hope MOTHER MARY put some sense into the minds of these over enthusiastic officers, who are concerned about the one man who has encroached upon Public Road and creating hurdles in the way of MOTHER”S DEVOTEES.
LATEST PICTURE OF ROAD BLOCKED BY POLICE AUTHORITIES ON 14/9/2014
|4:30 PM (4 minutes ago)|
In spite of assurances by authorities that the CEMENT ROAD will be open for public, Some overenthusiastic persons within police force are trying to block the passage for devotees.
We cal upon you to take note of this and set up an enquiry against them to find out at whose behest they are acting.
GREG R. PEREIRA
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: godfrey pimenta <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, Sep 14, 2014 at 2:31 PM
Subject: Restrictions on use of Cement Road leading to Bandra Fair causing inconvinience to lakhs of devotees
To: Chiefminister <Chiefminister@maharashtra.gov.in>, DeputyChiefMinister <DeputyChiefMinister@maharashtra.gov.in>, chiefsecretary <firstname.lastname@example.org>, acshome <email@example.com>, dgpmsmumbai <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “email@example.com” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “email@example.com” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “email@example.com” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Cc: soniagandhi <email@example.com>, office <firstname.lastname@example.org>, rajbhavan <email@example.com>
Maharashtra is a land of rich cultural heritage and traditions. The diverse form of landscape and environment make the state’s culture more colourful. Maharashtrians celebrate every fair with great fervour and enthusiasm. The sacred Kumb Mela at Nashik that comes after every twelve years is regarded to be the most important religious fair in Maharashtra. As Maharashtrians have great belief of Lord Ganesh, Ganesh Utsav at Sangli and Pune are the fairs that Maharashtrians celebrate with great fun fare, which are attended by the maximum number of visitors even from foreign countries. The Maharashtra government in collaboration with the Union government is promoting the Pune fair as a major tourists attraction. Other important temple fairs include Changdeo fair at the Markandeya Temple near Edlabad, Kiran Utsav at the Mahalaxmi Temple at Kolhapur, Rathyatra at the Kalaram Temple in Nashik, and the Shrirama Rathotsava fair and the Navaratra Mahalaxmi fair at the Navaratra Mahalaxmi temple in Jalgaon. The Khuldabad Urs is a festival for Muslims; celebrated for five days. The Snake festival at Battis Shirala town too attracts large number of tourists from India and aboard.
FAIRS IN MUMBAI
Mahalaxmi Temple during Navratri almost attract 50,000 devotees on each day of the nine-day-long festival and similarly does the Mumbadevi Temple, Bhuleshwar, Mumbai. Mahim Dargah/Mahim fair, which begins from December 20 is a 12-day festival that witnesses almost half million devotees. It happens to be among the few gazetted festivals. Members of all the communities participate in the celebration. More than 300 stalls of eateries and toys are set up and qawwalis played at the dargah by people who come there. A qawwali programme is also arranged by the Mumbai police. The Mumbai police offers the first sandal at the fair followed by the one offered by the dargah trustees before it is thrown open to the public. Every Tuesday of the week, there is huge turnout at Sidhhivanayak Mandir and similarly every Wednesday there is Novena service at St. Michael Church, Mahim. Similarly Fairs are also held at Erangal, Madh Marve Road in first week of January every year, on 26th December every year at Kashimira.
Bandra Fair is a week long fair held annually in the Bandra suburb of Mumbai, Indiastarting on the following Sunday after September 8. It is celebrated to commemorate the Nativity of Mary, mother of Jesus, on September 8 at the Mount Mary Church, Bandra. The Bandra Fair is estimated to be around 300 years old. The fair started when a statue of Mother Mary was found floating in the Arabian Sea between 1700 and 1760, which, according to a legend, a Koli fisherman had dreamt about a few years earlier. The history behind the current statue of Our Lady of Mount goes back to the 16th century when Jesuit priests from Portugal brought the statue to Bandra and constructed the Mount Mary Church there. In 1700 Arab pirates disfigured the statue by cutting off the right hand. In 1760, the Mount Mary Church was rebuilt and the statue was substituted with a statue of Our Lady of Navigators from the St. Andrew’s Church nearby in Bandra. This statue had an interesting legend. It goes that a Koli fisherman dreamt that he would find a statue in the sea. The statue was found floating in the sea between 1700 and 1760. A Jesuit Annual Letter dated to 1669 and published in the book St. Andrew’s Church, Bandra (1616–1966) supports this claim. This was believed to be a miracle by the locals, and the Bandra Fair was started to celebrate this. However, in 1761, the original statue of the Lady of Mount was renovated with a child in her arms and is worshiped at the fair ever since.The Fair draws lakhs of devotees and pilgrims annually. Many faithful attest to the miraculous powers of the Mount. During the Fair, tens of thousands visit the shrine of Our Lady of Mount. The shrine attracts people from all faiths who pray to the statue for thanksgiving or requesting of favours.
DISCRIMINATION AGAINST BANDRA FAIR.
The Mumbai Police ( Bandra West Police Station ) are not allowing devotees especially old, handicap and children to take the Cement Road as a point of entry to the Mount Mary Church even after promising by making statements in the press that the said road will be kept open for devotees of all faith. By imposing restriction on the Cement Road which cannot be used as point of entry to Mount Mary Church, which is traditional route used for almost three centuries the centuries old Custom is being sought to curbed by unnecessary restrictions. We also received calls from Shri Anil Joseph, Activist ( 9892055998 ) at about 1.45 pm and Clarence Gomes ( 9820341838 ) informing us about the said restriction. The Bandra Police Station have stationed a Police Van at the entry point near Mannat Bungalow, Bandstand Bandra, Mumbai. We have made complaint on Police Emergency Number 100 at 1.50 p.m. today to confirm the said restriction.
We even received a call today from Zee News reporter ( Ms. Sonal Singh ) at about 2.13 p.m. that the Police are not allowing the entry from the Cement Road. Ms. Sonal Singh had gone to cover the Bnadra Fair event. The PSI Yadav who is stationed with Van at entry of the Cement Road has now allowed Ms. Sonal after we complained on Police Emergency Number 100 to take the Cement Road as entry route stating he is restricting entry during peak and non peak hours.
In the circumstances we kindly request you immediately intervene in the matter, so as to allow usage of the said cement road as a point of entry to the Mount Mary Church in accordance with age old Custom and tradition, without any restrictions.
Please note that lakhs of devotees are expected to attend the fair and expected to take Cement Road as a point of entry because of the statements made by the Bandra Police Station to the Press in last few days. As such if the entry is not allowed from the said cement road there may daily commotion between devottes and police personnel posted at the entry of the Cement Road.
We demand a thorough probe into this matter.
For Watchdog Foundation
Nicholas Almeida/Godfrey Pimenta