If I Allow Namaz on Streets, How Can I Stop Police Stations from Celebrating Janmashtami: Adityanath

Ahead of Janmashtami, the UP chief minister had told the police to celebrate the festival in a 'traditional, grand and decent' way.

New Delhi: Uttar Pradesh chief minister Adityanath on Wednesday (August 16) said that if he cannot stop people from offering namaz on the road on Eid, he cannot stop police stations from celebrating Janmashtami.

Agar mai sadak par Eid ke din namaz padhne pe rok nahi laga sakta to mujhe koi adhikar nahi ki mai thano mein janmashtami ke parv ko rokun… koi adhikar nahi,” Indian Express quoted him as saying at an event organised by the Prerna Jansanchar Evam Shidh Sansthan, Noida and Lucknow Jansanchar Evam Patrakarita Sansthan.

Before the date, Adityanath had sent the director general of police a letter saying, “Krishna Janmashtami is an important festival and the police should organise it in a traditional and grand way.” He also said that the police should “maintain decency” during the celebrations, as festivities at police stations have involved alcohol and women dancers in the past, NDTV reported. His communique is being read not just as a grant of permission, but as active encouragement to celebrate the festival in police stations.

The chief minister was criticised for his focus on celebrations just days after close to 70 children died at Gorakhpur’s BRD Medical College.

In his speech on Wednesday, Adityanath also brought up the kanwar yatra, in preparation for which his government had ordered the pruning of “inauspicious” fig trees. When officers brought up the use of microphones, sound systems and DJs during the yatra, Adityanath said he asked them to ensure that these are not used, if possible. “Maine prashasan se kaha… sabhi pradeshon ke jo adhikari aaye thay… maine kaha ki mere saamne ek aadesh paarit kariye phir ki mic har jagah ke liye partibandhit honi chahiye… har jagah ban karo… aur yeh tay kariye ki kisi bhi dharmsthal mein… uski premises ke bahar, uski awaaz aani hi nahi chahiye… kya isko laagu kar payenge?…Agar laagu nahin kar sakte hain to phir isko bhi hum laagu nahi hone denge… yatra chalegi (I told the officers to ensure that mics were banned and no sound emanated from the places of worship. I asked them if it would be possible to implement this. If not, the yatra should go on as it is),” he said, insinuating that the ban should not be selectively enforced in the case of the kanwar yatra.

Without the use of drums and sound systems, he said, how would people recognise the yatra? “Maine kaha ki ye kanwar yatra hai ya shav yatra?… Arrey woh kanwar yatra mein baaje nahin bajenge, damru nahin bajega, dhol nahin bajega, chimte nahin bajenge, log nachenge-gayenge nahin, mike nahi bajega to woh yatra kanwar yatra kaise hogi (I asked if this was a kanwar yatra or a funeral procession. If they don’t play music and drums, don’t dance and sing, don’t use the mike, how will it be a kanwar yatra),” he said.