New Delhi: West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s decision to not allow Durga idol immersion on October 1, the scheduled day of Muharram, hasn’t been received well by Hindu outfits.
In a statement on Wednesday, Banerjee had asked the people of the state to cooperate with each other and to not fall prey to provocation leading to communal problems.
The same day, the BJP and the RSS said that they would oppose the decision. Other Hindu outfits have said that they will ignore the directives and will ask the puja committees to do the same.
“We strongly oppose this decision. We will appeal to all puja committees to carry out immersion of idols as per Hindu rituals. We will tell them that there is no need to follow the state government’s order. We are protesting against this arbitrary decision,” Tapan Ghosh, president of the Hindu Samhati told the Indian Express.
Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh told the Indian Express, “Why will Hindus be not allowed to celebrate their biggest festival? For the last few years same thing has been happening. The decision is completely baseless and unconstitutional. It has been taken to appease the Muslim community of the state.”
The RSS unit of West Bengal is also unhappy with the government’s decision and has vowed that the Hindus of Bengal will flout it.
Ghosh also claimed that the government’s decision was an attempt to appease the Muslim community for vote bank politics.
“The state government is trying to disrupt Durga idol immersion. Last year, there was a similar directive on account of Muharram. This year also, the chief minister has done the same”, Ghosh told the Hindu on Thursday.
Senior state officials told the Hindu that the decision was taken in view of two considerations. “There were some problems last year following the overlapping of two religious events – Bijaya Dashami and Muharram – and this year too, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) is planning a shastra puja (weapons worship) in the state on October 1,” a senior official said. Sachindranath Singha, the VHP’s organisational secretary in West Bengal, said that group will be taking out rally with “traditional weapons” from various parts of the state on October 1, a day after Bijaya Dashmi, and would go to court if the rallies are obstructed.
Singha went on to say that they are planning to hold rallies in most districts of the state.
“Muharram is not a festival we must keep that in mind. It’s our responsibility. I have heard that some people have plans to disturb and drive people in a wrong path,” Banerjee had said on Wednesday, stressing that the puja committees should play a “bigger role” in this context.
The BJP is allegedly planning to seek legal opinion about the decision.
“The Hindus of the state will not abide by such decisions. Every year same thing happens. My question is every puja committee needs to take permission from the police, but how many police permissions have actually been taken to take out Muharram processions? I would request the police to come out with the data,” RSS spokesperson Jishnu Basu told the Indian Express.
In a similar situation last year, puja committees had gone to the Calcutta high court, which rapped the state government for imposing such restrictions on Dashami. It also extended the deadline set by the police for immersion of household idols.
According to the Hindu, in one of the orders delivered on the matter, Justice Dipankar Datta had said that there was a “clear endeavour on the part of the state government to pamper and appease the minority section of the public at the cost of the majority section without there being any plausible justification.”