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Mamata govt cancels Kolkata auditorium booking for Mohan Bhagwat event

In January this year, Kolkata Police had denied permission for Bhagwat’s rally in the city but the high court had overruled the decision.

Written by Santanu Chowdhury | Kolkata |
Updated: September 5, 2017 5:23:44 pm
Mohan Bhagwat, RSS, Lingayats, Lingayat community, Karnataka, Lingayat community in Karnataka, india news, indian express RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat (File Photo)

The authorities of a state-run auditorium – Mahajati Sadan in Kolkata – have cancelled the booking for an event in which RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat was to speak, organisers of the event alleged on Tuesday. The Sister Nivedita Mission Trust had booked the auditorium for October 3 for an event on Sister Nivedita’s role in India’s nationalist movement. West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi was also an invitee.

Speaking to The Indian Express, General Secretary of the Trust, Rantideb Sengupta, said the auditorium authorities cancelled the booking last Thursday despite completion of all formalities on their part.

“We had booked the auditorium in July after paying Rs 14,350. We also paid another Rs 1,150 as October 3 is a holiday. We even intimated Joint CP Headquarters of Kolkata Police about our event. Suddenly, on August 31, authorities of Mahajati Sadan told us that the booking was cancelled. They told us to get a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Kolkata Police. While we were about to obtain the NOC from police, the authorities on September 1 informed us that the auditorium was unavailable as it would be under maintenance in the first week of October,” said Sengupta.

Authorities of Mahajati Sadan were unavailable for comments. The organiser of the event, however, said the event will now be held at a different venue and on the same day. “We are looking for an alternative venue to hold the event,” Sengupta added.

Sources, meanwhile, said the booking was cancelled due to the timing of the event. This year, Bijoya Dashami and Muharram are on September 30 and October 1, respectively, and the state government is apprehending trouble as Hindu outfits have planned processions with arms on Bijoya Dashami. According to a senior government official, who did not wish to be named, Bhagwat’s presence in the city could worsen the situation.

Jishnu Basu, RSS karyavaha (secretary) for the southern part of Bengal, said it was unfortunate that the booking for a scheduled event was cancelled. “It seems the state is being run by fundamentalists. Permission was denied for a Mohan Bhagwat event in the city earlier as well. It has happened again. The state government has also turned Durga Puja into a carnival and Hindus are not allowed to observe it according to their customs. It is very unfortunate,” Basu told The Indian Express.

In January this year, Kolkata Police had denied permission for Bhagwat’s rally in the city but the high court had overruled the decision.

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