Didi may win im­mer­sion bat­tle

BENGAL DIKTAT State po­lice have not re­ceived a sin­gle ap­pli­ca­tion for Durga idol im­mer­sion on Muhar­ram day

Hindustan Times (Jalandhar) - - NATION - Su­manta Ray Chaud­huri let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

KOLKATA:West Bengal chief min­is­ter Ma­mata Ban­er­jee could emerge vic­to­ri­ous in a bit­ter bat­tle with Hindu right-wing or­gan­i­sa­tions over im­mer­sion of idols dur­ing the state’s big­gest fes­ti­val, Durga Puja.

Un­til Fri­day morn­ing, the po­lice had not re­ceived any ap­pli­ca­tion from or­gan­is­ers any­where in the state seek­ing per­mis­sion to take out Durga im­mer­sion pro­ces­sion on Oc­to­ber 1, the day when a sec­tion of Mus­lims mourn the mar­tyr­dom of Imam Hus­sain, the grand­son of the Prophet.

The rit­ual is part of the holy month of Muhar­ram, the first month of the Is­lamic cal­en­dar.

Ban­er­jee’s gov­ern­ment and BJP and its al­lied or­gan­i­sa­tions are locked in a bit­ter war of words af­ter the chief min­is­ter banned im­mer­sion on the day. The BJP ac­cused her of try­ing to ap­pease the mi­nor­ity com­mu­nity.

A di­vi­sion bench of the Cal­cutta high court, how­ever, stayed the blan­ket ban and ruled that im­mer­sions should be al­lowed if the po­lice found that the pro­ces­sions would not jeop­ar­dise the law and or­der sit­u­a­tion.

The court also or­dered the po­lice to iden­tify sep­a­rate routes for Muhar­ram and Durga puja pro­ces­sions.

Chas­tised by the court rul­ing, the state gov­ern­ment asked puja or­gan­is­ers to sub­mit ap­pli­ca­tions to the po­lice suf­fi­ciently in ad­vance for ob­tain­ing per­mis­sion for idol im­mer­sions.

Ad­di­tional di­rec­tor gen­eral (law & or­der), Anuj Sharma, told HT that not a sin­gle ap­pli­ca­tion for im­mer­sion on Oc­to­ber 1 has been re­ceived till date

“There are about 25,000 com­mu­nity pu­jas in all the dis­tricts. So far we have not re­ceived a sin­gle ap­pli­ca­tion,” Sharma said.

An­other se­nior of­fi­cer of Kolkata po­lice ruled out the pos­si­bil­ity of “any last-minute” ap­pli­ca­tion.

“Even if there are any, the po­lice ad­min­is­tra­tion will act on it depend­ing on the cir­cum­stances and ac­cord­ing to the high court or­der,” the of­fi­cer added.

State home sec­re­tary, Atri Bhat­tacharya, said the ad­min­is­tra­tion will per­mit im­mer­sions “based on the sit­u­a­tion on the ground.” He also pointed out that none of the three al­manacs fol­lowed in Bengal had any pro­vi­sion for im­mer­sion on Oc­to­ber 1, also known as ‘ekadashi’.

Lead­ers of the Ban­er­jee’s rul­ing Tri­namool Congress have also been per­suad­ing puja or­gan­is­ers to re­frain from im­mers­ing the idols on Oc­to­ber 1.

“Our lead­ers and elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives have in­flu­ence over al­most 95% of the com­mu­nity pu­jas. Some of the re­main­ing ones are un­der the con­trol of Congress lead­ers. But I am sure that they will not act in a way that com­mu­nal har­mony is dis­turbed,” said a mem­ber of the state cab­i­net.

Ban­er­jee had crit­i­cised the saf­fron camp for its plans to or­gan­ise ‘shas­tra puja’ (weapons wor­ship) on Dashami, say­ing that it was not the cul­ture of Bengal.

HT FILE

The gov­ern­ment asked puja or­gan­is­ers to sub­mit ap­pli­ca­tions in ad­vance for per­mis­sion to im­merse Durga idols on Oc­to­ber 1.

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