Kolkata (West Bengal), September 21
In a setback to the West Bengal Government, the Calcutta High Court on Thursday allowed immersion of Durga idols on all days from ‘Vijayadashami’ on September 30, including Muharram on October 1.
A Division Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Rakesh Tiwari and Justice Harish Tandon directed the West Bengal Government to make necessary security arrangements and asked the state government to chalk out designated routes for immersion and tazia processions.
The state government had imposed restrictions on Durga idol immersion on Vijaydashami on September 30 after 10 pm and said no immersion would be allowed on October 1, the day Muharram is scheduled to be observed.
The directions by the High Court came on three public interest litigations (PILs) challenging the restrictions on the immersion of idols at the end of the five-day Durga puja festival.
Hailing the court verdict, West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh said the state government’s attempts “to divide the people on religious lines and reap electoral benefits out of it” had been defeated.
Mamata slams critics
Later, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee slammed critics for levelling the charge of Muslim appeasement against her and said it was “insulting”.
Her statement came in the backdrop of the high court allowing the immersion of Durga idols on all days from Vijayadashami, including on Muharram.
“No one accuses me of appeasement when I attend programmes of the Hindus, Christians or Buddhists. This charge is levelled only when I attend programmes of the Muslims,” she said after inaugurating a Durga Puja pandal here.
The state administration had barred processions on October 1.
Passing an interim order, the court directed that processions with Durga idols reaching places of immersion by midnight would be allowed to complete the process on a given day.
The Bench also directed the state government to put out advertisements to widely circulate information about the routes and also for ensuring amity and harmony between the communities.
It declined a plea of the Trinamool Congress government for a stay on the order.
The Bench asked the state authorities to file its affidavit on the prayers made by the petitioners within three weeks after the puja holidays and the petitioners to give their reply within another two weeks.
The matter would come up for hearing again five weeks after the vacation. PTI
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