A video in which a group of people who seem to be artisans crafting Ganesha idols from Rajasthan appealing to Tamil Nadu government officials not to close down their warehouse is being widely circulated on social media, attributing a communal narrative, suggesting that the government is displaying an anti-Hindu stance. Through this article let’s fact-check the claim made in the post.
Claim: Tamil Nadu government displayed an anti-Hindu stance by closing down a warehouse of Ganesh idols.
Fact: The state authorities have provided clarification that the closure of the Karur warehouse was a result of their findings indicating the use of banned chemicals, such as Plaster of Paris (PoP), in the crafting of Ganesh idols. This ban on chemicals in idol production is consistent across the country, indicating that there is no communal dimension attached to this incident Hence, the claim made in the post is FALSE.
The viral footage does show the closure of a Ganesh idol warehouse by Tamil Nadu government authorities, even though the artisans pleaded against it. However, it’s essential to clarify that there is no communal aspect to this incident. The officials shut down the warehouse after discovering that the artisans were using prohibited chemicals, including Plaster of Paris (PoP), in the production of these idols.
Google search with relevant keywords yielded multiple news reports that reported the same video (here, here & here). According to these reports, the incident occurred in the Karur district of Tamil Nadu, where officials from the state’s pollution control board sealed a warehouse of Ganesha idol makers for flouting pollution rules.
Further search led us to a series of tweets from the Karur district collector addressing the viral claims and providing clarification. According to the tweet, the action was initiated in response to a complaint lodged by the Traditional Potters Association. They had raised concerns about a group of individuals producing Vinayak idols using Plaster of Paris (PoP), which was impacting their livelihood. The tweet also indicated that these idols would be returned to the makers after 25 September 2023.
Furthermore, the tweet conveyed the directives provided by the High Courts, NGT (National Green Tribunal), and CPCB (Central Pollution Control Board), emphasizing the strict requirement that Vinayak Chaturthi idols must be exclusively crafted from biodegradable materials, with Plaster of Paris (PoP) being expressly prohibited.
However, this incident is not isolated, as state government officials had previously seized chemical-laden Ganesh idols in Tiruvallur. It’s important to note that the ban on such practices extends beyond Tamil Nadu, with numerous state governments actively enforcing similar regulations. The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board and the Central Pollution Control Board have released guidelines in conjunction with Ganesha Chaturthi. These guidelines promote the use of biodegradable materials for crafting idols while explicitly prohibiting the use of plaster of Paris (PoP), plastic, and thermocol (polystyrene) in idol production.
For the past few years multiple state high courts, relevant authorities, and even the Supreme Court have consistently upheld the prohibition on using chemicals in the production of Ganesh idols. Therefore, it is evident that the actions of the officials in the viral video are in full compliance with the law, and there is no communal dimension associated with the incident (here, here, here & here).
To sum it up, the Tamil Nadu government officials confiscated the warehouse upon discovering the use of chemicals in the production of Ganesh idols.