Slamming the media, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday said “mischievous people” have conspired and “misled others by making incorrect statements” on her putting restrictions on immersion of Durga Puja idols on October 1, where Muharram will be observed. The statement comes in connection to her tweet on August 23, when the CM had said: “No idol immersion after 6 pm on Dashami (Sept 30) till Oct 1 due to Muharram processions, immersion will resume from Oct 2.”
“What we had said is that on the day of Ekadashi on October 1, there will be no immersions. Muharram, which is an occasion of mourning by the Muslim community, falls on the same date. Immersion will resume as usual from October 2 to 4,” she told mediapersons at state secretariat Nabanna.
“…I had clarified this on August 23. Despite my clarification, some mischievous people have indulged in conspiracy and dirty politics and misled others by making incorrect statements,” she added. “Some media reports have compared the way Durga Puja is celebrated in Mumbai and in Kolkata, describing the decision taken in Bengal as appeasement politics… a higher number of Muslims reside in Kolkata than in Mumbai… Bengal has most number of Muslims than any other state,” Mamata said.
“If people think that Mumbai Durga pujas and Bengal’s Durga pujas are the same, then that is not correct. In Mumbai, Ganesh Puja is held on a large scale… Each state has its own unique festival. If Ganesh Puja and Muharram would fall on the same day, will the Mumbai Police be able to handle it? They will not… The time of immersion and Muharram is close to each other… this is not something that we in the government have decided… it has been decided by auspicious timings and religious calendars,” she added.
Maintaining that the government has handled such situations for the last five years, Mamata said: “I ask everyone, at this time of festivity, to celebrate in peace and be responsible. Like Paramhansa Ramkrishna and Swami Vivekananda said… respect everyone’s religion. Muharram is an occasion of mourning, and we must respect that sentiment.”.
“The people of Bengal are peaceful, conscientious and intelligent. Please maintain harmony,” said the CM, adding that she will begin inaugurating the pujas on September 18. Responding to a petition in the Calcutta High Court, state Advocate General Kishore Dutta had on Friday said that the government had issued a notification on Thursday, stating that immersion will be allowed on Bijoy Dashami (September 30) till 10 pm.
He was responding to a petition seeking the court’s nod to allow immersion till 1.36 am on September 30 in accordance with ‘Vishudha Sidhanta’ — one of the three almanacs based in which the pujas are held. The final hearing on the matter will take place on Monday. State BJP president Dilip Ghosh, meanwhile, said: “…The state government doesn’t have the right to decide when and how immersion will take place, it can only decide the routes for immersion. This administration, especially the chief minister, has no confidence in herself or in her administration. That’s why she is attacking our religious beliefs and introducing restrictions. If she has so little confidence, let her seek the Centre’s help.”
“She couldn’t handle Darjeeling (indefinite shutdown), central forces were sent. She couldn’t handle Basirhat (riots), central forces were sent.. If she can’t handle the immersion (issue), then let her call (Home Minister) Rajnath Singh and he will send her central forces. The day is coming in West Bengal when we will need central forces to conduct the Durga idol immersions,” he added. Mamata, meanwhile, said that any rally with arms will not be permitted in the state on Bijoya Dashami.
“Rallies with arms are illegal. We will not permit anything illegal,” she said. The VHP has announced that it will conduct ‘Shastra Pujan’ or worship of arms at 300 places in the state on September 30. DGP Surajit Kar Purkayastha said: “Permission is required to hold rallies. If armed rallies are planned, we will not give permission. If these rallies are taken out without permission, we will take action according to law.’’ He added that recently, three persons were arrested in Raiganj for allegedly trying to create communal tensions.
“We received information that these three persons planned to throw a pig’s head inside a temple. During interrogation, they admitted to the plan. They claimed to be members of the local BJP wing,” said the DGP.