Asking the Madhya Pradesh government to refrain from dabbling in matters of religion, BJP leaders have objected to an advisory issued by the district administration making it mandatory to declare with it idols more than three feet tall, ahead of the Durga Puja on October 6. The first such advisory in the State comes days after 11 youths drowned in a lake here as their boats capsized during the immersion of an 18-foot-tall Ganesh idol. “The accident was not caused because of the idol’s height. It was a result of the administration’s negligence,” said Vishvas Sarang, Narela (Bhopal) MLA. The government had no right to restrict an idol’s height or impose conditions on it, he said, “it should be left to the Hindu community.”Bhopal MP Pragya Thakur said it was a crime to play with sentiments of Hindus. “If the administration is trying to discourage immersion of tall idols, it should do the same for tazias.”Collector clarifies“We have not restricted the height but asked people to keep us informed in case they are keeping an idol more than three feet tall,” said Bhopal Collector Tarun Kumar Pithode. “Especially if the height goes beyond six feet, we need to be informed so that arrangements could be made accordingly at immersion sites.”BJP State media chief Lokendra Parashar said the administration should instead focus on ensuring safety during immersions. “They should not talk such things.”At least a week before the festival, organisers and puja committees must register idols more than three feet tall with either the Municipal Corporation or the police, says the advisory. Without it, they will not be allowed to take out processions or immerse idols. Mechanised immersionsMoreover, the use of boats for immersions will be prohibited, and only mechanised immersions of idols more than three feet tall, using a crane or other means, will be permitted, that too only during the hours fixed by the administration. And use of loudspeakers and idols made of Plaster of Paris (PoP) will be prohibited. Although the State government has no law regulating idol immersion, an informed source in the district administration said a proposal for it would be sent to the Chief Minister soon. Bengal ruleAt present, only West Bengal has rules regulating idol immersions. It prohibits idols more than 20 feet tall and makes it mandatory for puja committees to submit a declaration before the Municipal Corporation on the compliance with rules such as no use of PoP idols, synthetic colour or toxic materials, and height of the super structure below 40 feet. The State Pollution Control Board could penalise committees in case of violation.