Don't disturb peace during Durga Puja, no idol immersion on Muharram: Mamata Banerjee warns RSS, VHP

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A day after Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) said they intend to carry out shastra puja in at least 300 places across West Bengal on Vijaya Dashami, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has issued strong warning to them on Saturday.

She said, "Don't disturb peace during Durga Puja, don't play with fire".

Mamata Banerjee also reiterated that idol immersion will be not allowed on October 1, i.e on Muharram. On Friday, Bengal govt told the Calcutta High Court that immersion will be allowed till 10 pm on September 30, though Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had earlier said that it will be permitted only till 6 pm on that day.

State Advocate General (AG) Kishore Dutta said a notification has been issued which allowed the immersion of idols till 10 pm on Vijaya Dashami (September 30). The immersion will not be allowed on October 1 on account of Muharram but it will again be permitted on October 2.

The court was hearing a plea which wanted that the immersion be allowed till 1.36 am on October 1 in accordance with the Hindu almanac.On August 23, Banerjee had told reporters that immersion will not be allowed after 6 PM on September 30 and on October 1 in view of Muharram. The move had sparked a controversy with the BJP accusing her of indulging in appeasement politics.

After the AG's submission, a division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Nishita Mhatre and Justice T Chakraborty today asked whether immersion of Durga idols can be allowed after 10 pm also on Vijaya Dashami and directed the state counsel to inform it about the government's views on Monday, till when the matter was adjourned. The petitioner submitted before the court that according to a Hindu almanac, Vijaya Dashami will continue till 1.36 am on October one, on which date Muharram is to be observed.

While the state government has banned immersion on October 1, it is also against procession with arms as part of Shastra Puja. VHP sources said that they would move court on September 18 to get permission for the same. Chandranath Das, VHP’s vice-president for south Bengal said the process for filing a case has been initiated. “We have got the paperworks ready and a case will be filed on September 18. We will also send letters to authorities at Lalbazar — the Kolkata Police headquarters — and local police stations concerned. Shastra puja is an essential part of Durga puja. Mamata is the daughter of a Brahmin and she knows the paraphernalia of pujas, but she ignores those to appease Muslims and ensure her votebank,” Das said. Asked if they would carry out shastra puja even if authorities didn't give permission he said it would be decided later.

It was found out that preparations were afoot to perform shastra puja at least 300 places in West Bengal. VHP state general secretary Dr Chinmoy Dutta said that it was an attack on tradition. “It will be carried out within the pandal with the help of Bajrang Dal. It is a symbolic exhibition of bravery and an inspiration to fight against evil forces. We don't intend to carry out any procession with arms but if over-enthusiast common people do it, we wont be able to help that. The same had happened during Ram Navami when people took out rallies with arms,” Dutta told DNA.

With agency and Arshad Ali inputs
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