Days after it sought to restrict the height of idols in the upcoming Durga Puja, the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday climbed down on its position after the BJP MP from Bhopal, Pragya Singh Thakur, said that the order, and other restrictions such as a 10-pm cut-off on noise and music, amount to interference in religious affairs.
After 11 men died during immersion of a big Ganesh idol in Lower Lake, the administration had asked sculptors and organisers of Durga Puja to restrict the idol height to 10 feet, including the 4-foot frame.
After opposition by Hindu outfits, which argued that idols are ready and getting finishing touches, the administration said the order will become applicable for future idols.
In addition to restricting the height, the administration had sought to curb sound and music after 10 pm and asked organisers to sign an affidavit stating that they will be held responsible if something goes wrong during the festival.
On Tuesday, Thakur, an accused in Malegaon blasts, and other BJP MLAs boycotted a meeting of the district planning committee. “We don’t accept the farman (order) because it interferes with rights of Hindus to worship,” Thakur told the media. “The Congress government shows a rulebook to the majority community before every Hindu festival. This order is illegal.”
Describing the order to ban music played by disc jockeys (DJs) after 10 pm as anti-religion, Thakur said she will not accept any such restrictions and take to the streets, irrespective of where the order comes from. “If sound restrictions are imposed on us, we will not let any other sound (be played),’’ she said.
Asked about the court-imposed deadline, she asked, “Why are such restrictions imposed only on Hindu festivals?’’
Madhya Pradesh CM Kamal Nath later said there are no restrictions on height of idols across the state. “There are no restrictions on immersion. The administration has made certain rules for immersion in deep water due to security reasons,’’ he said.