Inaugurating his first Durga Puja in West Bengal, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday recalled that there was a time when people had to knock the High Court doors to immerse Durga idols as “the constitutional right to celebrate festivals was not guaranteed to them”.
“Earlier, there was a situation when one had to take permission from the High Court to immerse Durga idols in the river. The constitutional right of the people to celebrate festivals was not guaranteed in Bengal due to vote bank politics. Today people do not need to go to the court. People have given us a huge mandate after we won 18 (Lok Sabha) seats from Bengal. If you continue to give us your support, then no one will ever have to take permission to perform Durga Puja and Saraswati Puja in Bengal,” he said after inaugurating the Durga Puja at BJ Block in Salt Lake.
Shah was referring to the restrictions imposed by the state government on Durga idol immersion on the day of Vijayadashami after 10 pm in 2017. It had also said no immersion would be allowed on the day of Muharram. However, the Calcutta High Court allowed immersion of idols on all days from Vijayadashami, including on Muharram.
The BJP president added he has come here to be with the residents during Durga Puja, one of the biggest festivals, not only in Bengal, but entire eastern India.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said people are welcome to come here and enjoy Durga Puja, but they should not divide the people. “Here people belonging to all religion participate in Durga Puja in a harmonious manner. This festival is for all. I tell everyone to come to Bengal and enjoy the puja. We will play the role of a perfect host. But don’t come here to divide the people and break our unity. This puja is for all and does not restrict anyone,” Banerjee said while inaugurating a puja in Kolkata.
State Finance Minister Amit Mitra told reporters at the state secretariat, “The Union Home Minister in this festive season is spreading panic among the people over NRC. Please come here and see the art and culture of Bengal during Durga Puja. But today we heard him saying Hindu, Sikh, Jain and Christians will not be driven out of the country. Does the Indian Constitution allow such religious division? This is unconstitutional.”