Durga Puja outfits and devotees of East Singhbhum district of Jharkhand have expressed outrage after Deputy Commissioner Suraj Kumar allegedly forcibly stopped the distribution of Bhog among devotees at temples and puja pandals.
The East Singhbhum district headquartered in Jamshedpur town has around 200 puja pandals. Now the puja outfits have refused to perform Visarjan of idols of Goddess Durga till the district administration tenders apology for the same. However, the local Congress MLA and health minister Banna Gupta tried to pacify them but organizers have refused.
“It seems that Hindus are second class citizens in the Hemant Soren led government. All kinds of restrictions are meant for Hindu festivals only. Can he dare enter and threaten people inside a mosque? His conduct was unpardonable,” said Abhay Singh of Kashidih Durga Puja where Durga Puja is organized on the premise of a 95 years old temple.
Abhay Singh who is the convener of Durga Puja Samiti at Kashidih in West Singhbhum (Jamshedpur) district of Jharkhand said that Deputy Commissioner Suraj Kumar forcibly stopped the distribution of Bhog at the temple and drove away devotees. He accused the Hemant Soren government for carrying an anti-Hindu mindset.
The controversy started on October 13 when the Deputy Commissioner along with the police force suddenly visited the temple at Kashidih. Devotees were standing in line to get the Prasad. People alleged that the Deputy Commissioner insulted devotees and Puja organizers for violating the Covid 19 guidelines. Police even drove devotees out of the temple. Local residents said that the administration similarly stopped the distribution of Bhog at Rankani temple at Kadma too.
The action of the administration led to a heated argument and in no moment the news spread like wildfire. In Jharkhand, under the Covid 19 guidelines, Bhog distribution at the temple and pandals are prohibited and only home delivery is allowed.
The size of the idol can not be more than four feet, music and dhol baja etc are also restricted by the government. As per the Puja organisers, Deputy Commissioner was adamant that no Bhog distribution will be allowed as per the guidelines.
Abhay Singh and others were trying to convince him that devotees who have come from distant places returned after taking Bhog and they were following the guidelines in letter and spirit.
“There is no light, no colour and no celebration because the government doesn’t want this. But they (administration) have now dared to enter on temple premise and abuse devotees. How many mosques this officer has visited to implement the Covid guidelines? These things can’t be tolerated now. It happened for the first time when the administration came to temple with police force to disrupt a Puja and insult devotees,” said Abhay Singh.
An official of the district administration said that the administration was just ensuring Covid guidelines issued by the Disaster Management and Health department were followed. The official said that the administration said that there is a high risk of the spread of Covid-19 virus in the crowd.
But people were quick to point out that Chief Minister Hemant Soren should first follow the Covid-19 guidelines himself.
दुर्गाष्टमी के पावन अवसर पर सभी को अनेक-अनेक शुभकामनाएं और जोहार। pic.twitter.com/qt0I6DkKVB— Hemant Soren (@HemantSorenJMM) October 13, 2021
The Chief Minister on his Twitter account has shared pictures of the celebration with the crowd.
“He is the chief minister and he needs a crowd to cheer him on. There is no fear of Covid when the chief minister is here. The virus attacks people during festivals of Hindus only, otherwise, political rallies are safe. Also, there is no threat of the spread of the virus in the crowd outside of wine shops,” said Abhay Singh.