A news report has been doing the rounds on social media which is being used to claim that Hindus from Kanglapahari village in West Bengal are being denied permission to celebrate Durga Puja due to objection from Muslims.
Fourth year in a row
300 Hindu families unable to perform Durga puja in Bengal’s Kanglapahari village aftr opposition by 25Muslim families
This is so called secular India where 25 Muslim families r denying hindus their rights2worship@USCIRF @UN @PMOIndia https://t.co/NKhgVYJOSF
— Ritu (सत्यसाधक) #EqualRightsForHindus (@RituRathaur) October 1, 2019
Long live Indian ‘secularism’. In Christian majority Meghalaya, Murti of Ganesh is removed from a college, in Hindu majority WB, 300 Hindu families unable to perform Durga puja after opposition by 25 Muslim families! https://t.co/D08sx1Bg7P
— Shefali Vaidya ஷெஃபாலி வைத்யா शेफाली वैद्य (@ShefVaidya) October 2, 2019
All the district administrative machinery repeatedly denied permission to 300 Hindu Family for puja Kanglapahari Durga Mandir Committee, following objections by about 25 Muslim families in the village.@MamataOfficial is this UR Secularismhttps://t.co/2JybU03VfG
— Hemir Desai (@hemirdesai) October 1, 2019
The news report is from September 2016 and it stated that for “the fourth consecutive year when 300-odd households in a village in West Bengal’s Birbhum district are running from pillar to post seeking permission from the district administration just to organise a Durga puja in their village. In the past three years, they were denied a go-ahead by the local administration following objections by a few Muslim families in the village.” The reports say that Durga Puja was denied to be celebrated in the village due to the opposition of only 25 Muslim families in the village, although the number of Hindu families number 300,
Although it is true that Hindus were denied to organise Durga Puja for three years, the Puja was conducted in Kanglapahari in 2016 itself following intervention by Hindu Samhati, contrary to the claims being made. The Hindu rights group stated on its website, “Hindu Samhati took up the case and filed a Writ Petition in Calcutta High Court challenging the decision of the administration. On 5th October, the court allowed the villagers to hold puja at their premises. Even after the order of the court, local administration took dilly-dally attitude and did not allow villagers to allow the idols to move from the place where they were being built. But Hindu Samhati activists talked to different level of administration and ensured proper arrangements. Administration tried every dirty trick to stop the puja. They even imposed Section 144 (prohibitory order not to allow assembling of more than three persons) so that Hindus could not celebrate the puja. But with the support of Hindu Samhati, local villagers were determined this year and they went on with puja.”
On 5th October 2016, the Calcutta High Court had issued an interim order allowing Durga Puja to be held at any residential place in the village, although the court had said that the puja can’t be held at any public place. Since then, the Puja has been organised at the residence of a villager in the village as per the interim order, while a final judgement has not been issued by the High Court in the case.
Photos from the 2016 Durga Puja at Kanglapahari was released by Hindu Samhati as well.
While it’s true that Durga Puja was prevented in Kanglapahari for three years, the Puja has been performed in the village every year since 2016. We can now confirm that it has been organized ever since then and it will be organized this year as well. Photos from 2018 are also available on social media.
OpIndia.com talked to Debtanu Bhattacharjee of Hindu Samhati and he told us that the Durga Puja has been organized regularly since 2016. OpIndia.com also spoke with Chandan Sau of Kanglapahari Durga Mandir Committee who confirmed that the Durga Puja has been organized every year since 2016 and is being organized this year as well.