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Calcutta HC overturns Bengal govt’s decision to ban Durga immersion on Oct 1

Sulagna Sengupta | Updated on: 21 September 2017, 21:46 IST

In a major snub to the West Bengal government, particularly chief minister Mamata Banerjee , the Calcutta High Court on Thursday revoked the state government’s order banning immersion of Durga idol on October 1 , which is the day Muharram will be observed.

A division bench comprising acting Chief Justice Rakesh Tiwari and Justice Harish Tandon passed the order on Thursday saying immersion would be allowed from Bijoya Dashami ie September 30 to October 4 till 12 pm.

The Calcutta High Court has instructed the Kolkata police to make separate routes for both Durga idol immersion and Tazia procession of Muharram so that they do not overlap.

Sources in the Trinamool Congress said that it has been decided that the local TMC leadership will urge small clubs not to take out Durga puja processions on Bijoya Dashami and the next day to avoid any confrontation during immersion.

A senior TMC leader said " We will urge the local leadership to urge small puja organisers not to immerse Durga idol on Dashami . Moreover, if some organisers arrange for Durga idol immersion on Dashami, the state government will provide adequate protection.

But chief minister Mamata Banerjee seemed to be unfazed

After the verdict Banerjee said, "For every problem, there is a way out. We will definitely find a solution”.
Sources in the state government said that the state government may move to the Supreme Court challenging the Calcutta High Court’s order.

Senior officials of the state government said that when a meeting was convened with all the puja organisers a few days back, it was clearly stated that no immersion will take place on October 1, the day after Bijoya Dashami as Muharram would be observed that day. They said that all the organisers agreed to the arrangements.

Director General of Police Surajit Kar Purakyastha said "We will provide all arrangements as per the court’s order so that no community faces any problem during this period. Extra police forces will be deployed to avoid any confrontation immersion of the Durga idol and the Tazia procession on Muharram”.

During the meeting with Puja organisers, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that Durga idol immersion will be held till 6 pm on Bijoya Dashami and there will be no immersion the next day, which is Muharram. She also mentioned that for the next three days all Durga idol immersion will have to be completed. The state government issued a circular the next day. Following this circular, a PIL was filed at Calcutta High Court challenging the ban, claiming that it was an attempt to deprive the Hindu community of its constitutional rights.
In the first hearing earlier this week, the Advocate General Kishore Dutta told the court that the deadline for the immersion of Durga idol on Dashami had been extended from 6 pm to 10 pm. But when the court asked whether the deadline could be extended further, the state government refused.
Consequently during the hearing, the Calcutta High Court said that the state government has issued the circular on the basis of the assumption that law and order will be disrupted if immersion of Durga idol and Muharram were held on the same day, but there is no concrete reason behind taking this decision.

The High Court has also observed that the state government is exercising extreme power without any basis and it must not pass any arbitrary orders.
BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha termed this as a historic decision by the Calcutta High Court.

Later Banerjee attacked BJP saying,"BJP is trying to create a controversy during the Puja and we won't allow any conspiracy to hamper peace during the Puja. I will stick to my principles even if someone slits my throat".

"I believe in humanity . I don't follow appeasement politics. We will take stern action against those who try to create disturbance during the Durga Puja idol immersion and Muharram ". Banerjee added.

The CM will convene a high level meeting on Friday to discuss how to manage both processions properly on October 1.

 

First published: 21 September 2017, 21:46 IST
 
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