New Delhi: In open defiance of the Supreme Court’s ban on firecrackers, a fringe Hindu outfit burst crackers outside the apex court’s premises in Delhi on Tuesday evening.
Fouteen people, including three women, have been detained by the police and were taken to the Tilak Marg police station. The members, who claimed to be from an outfit called the Azad Hind Fauj, were led by a man named Satpal Malhotra, police said.
The group took refuge in the fact that the court had banned the sale of firecrackers and not bursting them. They, however, ignored the intention behind the ban - to control Delhi’s worsening air pollution.
This came just hours after Delhi BJP spokesperson Tajinder Bagga distributed sacks full crackers to slum kids in Hari Nagar area of west Delhi. Bagga tweeted photos and a video of him giving out firecrackers to the children, but claimed that just distribution did not amount to contempt of court.
Delhi Police’s public relations officer Madhur Verma said police will not take any action against Bagga as distributing crackers as a gift is not a crime.
Talking to media persons, Bagga asked why restrictions on crackers have been placed just around Diwali. “By banning them ahead of Diwali, you are just targeting a Hindu festival. The ban should be implemented around the year,” he said.
The SC had last week banned the sale of firecrackers in Delhi-NCR till November 1 to prevent the formation of a toxic haze over the capital like last year. “We should see at least in one Diwali the impact of a cracker-free festivity,” the court had said.
Many have, however, denounced the verdict on the grounds that it encroaches upon their religion. Among those criticising the verdict was Tripura governor Tathagata Roy, who said that Hindu cremations could be the next tradition on the chopping block after Diwali.
Calling for a “balanced view,” RSS’ Sarkaryawah Bhaiyyaji Joshi feared that next, someone might have a problem with diyas as well.
Author Chetan Bhagat, who said the ban on firecrackers was akin to banning Christmas trees on Christmas and slaughter of goats on Bakri-Eid. He said those wanting to reform festivals like Diwali should "show the same passion in reforming other festivals full of blood and gore."