No Durga Puja organiser seeks the mandatory permission required to immerse idols on Muharram

The vibrant festival of Durga Puja was tainted by politics this year after the Mamata government had decreed that there would be no idol immersion in 1st October owing to Muslim festival of Muharram falling on that day.

This led to PILs getting filed in the Calcutta High Court against this decision. The High Court as a result first pulled up the Mamata government and then later put a stay order on the decision. The court also rebuked the Mamata government by stating that it was exercising extreme power without any basis.

Possibly in-order to somehow circumvent the High Court decision, the Mamata government later ordered that if Durga Puja organisers want to immerse idols on Muharram, they would have to take prior police permissions. These permissions would also have to be submitted “well in advance”. Plus in order to further “persuade” the Puja organisers to take the “right” decision, the TMC legislators were scheduled to convince the organisers to not immerse the idols on 1st October.

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Now it seems that the Mamata government has become successful in enforcing an unofficial ban after it has been reported that Bengal Police have received no requests for idol immersions on Muharram till Friday morning. Additional director general (law & order), Anuj Sharma stated that out of the about 25,000 Durga Pujas in the state, none has sent such an application.

A senior officer in the Kolkata police even dismissed the possibility of any last minute application. Plus even though such an application is made, it might well be refused in the pretext that it wasn’t made “well in advance”.

A member of the state cabinet even claimed that the TMC leaders and elected representatives had successfully influenced over 95% of the community pujas to not immerse idols on Muharram. The rest 5% are reportedly controlled by Congress leaders but the state cabinet member expressed confidence that no one would act in a way which would disturb the communal harmony. 

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