West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said no one could tell her what to do. “Someone can slit my throat, but no one can tell me what to do. I will do what I can to keep peace,” news agency ANI quoted her as saying.
Earlier in the day, the Calcutta High Court overruled the notification by the state government that barred immersion of Durga idols on account of Muharram. The court allowed the immersion of idols till 12 am on all days including Muharram. The police have also been asked to ensure that routes are designated for immersion and Tazia so that they do not overlap. The bench also directed the state government to put out advertisements giving information about the routes and also for ensuring amity and harmony between the communities.
During the arguments that ran over the past two days, the court slammed the government saying it cannot hinder a citizen’s right to practice religion on mere assumptions. “Let them (Hindus and Muslims) live in harmony, do not create a line between them,” Acting Chief Justice Rakesh Tiwary said, asking the government to provide a “concrete ground” for its decision.
“You must clarify why are you apprehending a law-and-order situation,” the bench told state Advocate General (AG) Kishore Dutta, who claimed that it was the administration’s prerogative to decide on steps to prevent any untoward situation. “If you say there is complete harmony, are you (the state administration) not creating a line of division between the two communities by your action?” asked Justice Tandon. When the AG reiterated that the state had taken the decision to prevent any untoward incident, the acting chief justice observed, “Let them live in harmony, do not create a line between them.”
Meanwhile, BJP hailed the order said, said the state government’s attempts “to divide the people on religious lines and reap electoral benefits out of it” had been defeated. “The same thing had happened last year also, but the government did not learn any lessons from it. It is really sad that the Hindus in Bengal have no religious rights. They have to depend on the judiciary to celebrate Durga Puja. We have serious doubts whether this government is for entire Bengal or a specific community, which accounts for 27 per cent of the state’s population,” West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh was quoted by PTI.
“It is really unfortunate that the Hindus of the state have to knock on the doors of the judiciary to celebrate Durga Puja. The Hindus no longer have any faith in the state administration and the ruling party (Trinamool Congress). The ruling party is depriving the Hindus of their basic rights, only for the sake of appeasement of a particular community,” RSS general secretary of south Bengal Jishnu Basu said, as reported by PTI.
The notification issued by the government had sparked a controversy in the state and the BJP accused the chief minister of indulging in appeasement politics.
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