In a first, Karaga areas didn't go dry, officially

Karaga, the city’s oldest festival, is seeing yet another departure from tradition this year. For the first time, police have failed to officially ban the sale of liquor in areas where the Karaga procession is taken out. 

Just last week, organisers of the iconic festival were forced to take a detour because many roads located along the traditional routes of the procession are being white-topped (concretised). 

The festival attains most importance on its 11th day when the ‘Hasi Karaga’ decorated with jasmine flowers is carried by the priest on his head and he visits temples and mosques in old parts of the city from midnight until dawn.

Since the procession draws thousands of people along the route, police have always banned the sale of liquor in Karaga areas to ensure law and order. 

The grand procession begins from the Dharmarayaswamy Temple in Tigalarpet and passes through Ulsoorpet, Nagarthpet, Cubbonpet, Ganigarapet, Avenue Road, Doddapet, Aralepet, Balepet, Kumbarpet and Gollarapet before returning to the temple. 

Sources said orders on the liquor ban could not be issued as police officers were “too busy” in security arrangements for the general elections. Police Commissioner T Suneel Kumar confirmed to DH that this was indeed the case. 

But he hastened to add: “I have instructed police officers posted in Karaga areas to ensure that the sale of liquor is banned until the procession gets over.” 

The assistant commissioner of police, Halasuru Gate, said oral instructions had been given to all liquor shops, bars, pubs and restaurants to shut up shop until the completion of the Karaga procession. 

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