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This Dusshera, the Punjab Congress designed a chhitta (white) Raavan to burn on Tuesday at the GLADA ground in Ludhiana. However, the police won’t allow it unless the effigy is re-designed black as “according to tradition”.
The Congress said that it chose to dress this year’s Raavan in white to lament Punjab’s continued suffering due to drugs. Heroin, which is white in colour, is locally known as ‘chhitta’ too. The party said its also represented the preferred dress colour worn by politicians who, they claimed, were responsible for the state’s ills.
The Ludhiana Police, however, on Monday, denied a No Objection Certificate (NOC) to go ahead with burning the ‘white’ Raavan. It said the party must have it in black and follow tradition if it wants NOC.
“Our white Raavan signifies that politicians like CM Parkash Singh Badal and deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal are misruling the state. It is important to burn such Raavans of buraai (evil),” said Ludhiana MP Ravneet Singh Bittu. “The police is saying Raavan must be black. We want police to show us where in the Ramayana does it say that Raavan has to be black. It is our wish to burn a white Raavan or a black one.”
“In no case, will we convert our white Raavan into black. We have got NOCs from Municipal Corporation, fire brigade, GLADA and even pollution control board. Police is creating hurdles because they know that we are targeting drug menace. Playing with the Badals, they will never allow this. If you want a black Raavan because it is tradition, then give us proof and we will immediately get to converting it into black. In any case, our white raavan has black heart,” said Bittu.
The police, till the filing of this report, refused to permit the event. “We have just told them to fulfill some conditions to get NOC. We have seen a black Raavan only till now. This white Raavan can create trouble and to avert this, we cannot allow this,” said Jaswinder Singh, ADCP-4.
“We have simply told them to follow tradition and rules,” said ACP (east) Sourav Sharma. Another police officer claimed that the Congress had more effigies and had not clarified their purpose.
“We have got inputs that they will be installing pictures of Badals and Bikram Singh Majithia on effigies on Tuesday. We cannot allow this,” said a police officer.
A Congress source, however, said the party might cover the effigy in black temporarily to get the NOC before reverting to white on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Congress leader Gurpreet Gogi said, “We understand that Youth Akali Dal workers plan to disrupt our programme or they might even steal our effigies overnight. So we will be guarding them tonight. Tomorrow if police or the Akalis disrupt our plan, we will retaliate.”