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Durga Idol Immersion Allowed by Calcutta HC on Muharram, Mamata Hits Out

The bench also directed the state government to put out advertisements giving information about the routes and also for ensuring amity and harmony between the communities. It declined a plea of the Trinamool Congress government for a stay on the order.

Sujit Nath | News18.com

Updated:September 21, 2017, 8:51 PM IST
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Durga Idol Immersion Allowed by Calcutta HC on Muharram, Mamata Hits Out
File photo of Durga idol immersion during Durga Puja in Kolkata. (Reuters)
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Kolkata: The Calcutta High Court on Thursday struck down the government's ban on immersion of Durga idols on Muharram, prompting an angry Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to search for separate routes for two sets of processions.

While inaugurating a Puja pandal in Kolkata’s Ekdalia, Mamata said,"Anyone can slit my throat but no one can tell me what to do. I will do what I can to keep peace...There is a conspiracy against us. If someone will try to create problem during Durga Puja, we will not spare them. We will take stern action.”

“There are people who are giving lectures on Bengal despite knowing nothing about Bengal and its culture. I feel angry whenever I hear such lectures...We will not listen to their lectures. They don’t believe in Manav Dharma. They only believe in agencies to harass people. I will not let these people to malign our Bengal,” she said.

The court asked the state government to chalk out designated routes for immersion and ‘Tazia’ processions. It said that immersion of Durga idols would be held on all days from Vijayadashami on September 30 according to the Hindu almanac, including that on Muharram on October one when such processions were prohibited by the state administration.

The bench also directed the state government to put out advertisements giving information about the routes and also for ensuring amity and harmony between the communities. It declined a plea of the Trinamool Congress government for a stay on the order.

“No need to worry. We will make necessary arrangements to ensure peace during Durga Puja and Muharram," said Mamata.

Shortly after the order, Mamata called for an emergency meeting with top police officials to prepare guidelines for implementing the order.

Coming down heavily on state government, the court instructed it not to hurt or curtail the religious rights of citizens.

“Just because you are running the state, it does not mean that you can pass arbitrary orders. You are exercising extreme power without any concrete logic,” the court said.

The bench headed by acting Chief Justice Rakesh Tiwary said, “You (government) cannot act on the mere assumption that the law-and-order situation might deteriorate owing to Vijaya Dashami and Muharram falling one after the other.”

“Don’t pass order based on dreams about possible law and order issue. Place facts with logic. Unfair to interfere in people’s religious freedom,” the court said.

RSS, General Secretary, South Bengal, Jishnu Basu said, “Today’s verdict of Calcutta High Court proved that every time Hindus will have to knock doors of the judiciary for justice. We have never seen such appeasement politics ever in Bengal. People in Bengal have lost all hope in state government.”

The BJP too welcomed the verdict.

“Mamata government is doing vote bank politics in Bengal. This is the reason she banned immersion on Muharram day. But it is unfortunate that people in Bengal always have to rely on the judiciary to get justice,” said Sayanta Basu, BJP State Secretary.

The court also asked the state authorities to file an affidavit on the prayers made by the petitioners within three weeks after the puja holidays and the petitioners to give their reply within another two weeks. The matter would come up for hearing again five weeks after the vacation.

The directions by the high court came on three public interest litigations (PILs) challenging the restrictions on the immersion of idols at the end of the five-day Durga Puja festival.
| Edited by: Puja Menon
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