Kolkata: Following criticism, the West Bengal government told the Calcutta High Court on Friday that idol immersion during Durga Puja can happen till 10 pm.
This is a rollback from the state government’s earlier decision that till 6 pm on September 30 which is Vijaya Dashami.
Advocate-General Kishore Dutta told the bench of acting Chief Justice Nishita Mhatre and Justice Tapabrata Chakraborty about the government’s decision.
The petitioner, Smarajit Roy Chowdhury, however, insisted in the court that the time should be extended till 1.30 am instead of 10 pm.
The division bench will now decide whether to allow immersion on Muharram day (October 1) on Monday.
On August 24, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has announced that there will be no idol immersion on October 1 due to the Muharram procession and on September 30, immersion would happen till 6 pm.
It was learnt that the division bench referred to Ganesh idol immersion in Maharashtra and said that if Muharram and Ganesh idol immersion can happen together (there are instances) in Maharashtra, than why can’t it happen in Bengal.
Recently, a petition has been filed in the Calcutta High Court against Banerjee’s decision to ban idol immersion on the day of Muharram on October 1 and immersion restriction timing on Vijaya Dashami.
The petition was filed by a city based lawyer Smarajit Roy Chowdhury. Roy Choudhury is the same petitioner who claimed that Job Charnock was not the founder of Calcutta (now Kolkata).
Speaking to News18, Choudhury said, “Durga puja is one of the biggest festivals in Bengal and we follow rituals based on panjika. Whether it is puja timing, Anjali, immersion everything is based on auspicious timings. We felt that there is an attempt to suppress right to religion and activity based on religion. Therefore, we filed a petition at Calcutta High Court on last Wednesday against government’s move to ban immersion on Muharram.”
“We are hopeful that we will get some positive news in Monday during the next hearing,” he added.
This is not for the first time when immersion day was rescheduled due to Muharram in Bengal.
Last year, on October 6, a single-member bench of Justice Dipankar Dutta said that there should not be any decision which could pit “one community against another”, and that “intolerance would rise in the event of such arbitrary decision” of the government.