October 3, 2016: State government has issued a strange order that prevents the immersion of Durga idols from October 11 to 12 after 4 pm due to the fact that Hindu Festival Vijay Dashami coincides with Muharram on that day.
As a result, the writ petition has been filed in the Calcutta High Court by challenging the order by petitioners, Ajoy Kumar Dutta and Kanchan and the petition is to be heard on Monday. The petition terms the order “illegal, wrongful, mala fide and without any basis.” It asks the order to be revoked, and further it accuses the officials of “putting in peril the freedom of religion and the right of the petitioners to observe and celebrate their religion,” mentioned the Indian Express report.
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In West Bengal, traditional Durga pujas, commonly known as ‘Bonedi Bari Puja,’ is celebrated in the city’s ancient residences and the petition was filed on behalf of that. According to the Indian Express Report, the petitioners have filed the writ against the Kolkata police commissioner as well as deputy commissioner of police (North) besides the state, and have sought “permission for immersion of the deity of Holy Mother Durga on October 11, 2016, at around 6 – 7 pm.”
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The leading news portal reported that “there will be no idol immersion after 4 pm on October 11, which is Dashami, as the Muharram procession, will start after that. On October 12, again, there will be no immersion due to Muharram. On October 13 and 14, people will be allowed to carry out the immersion process for the whole. As per now, this is the final plan,” as said by Joint Commissioner of Police (Headquarters) Supratim Sarkar. As the two festivals are colliding, the government had made similar arrangements last year in 2015.
The petitioners also mentioned that the decision had a huge impact on the scores of pujas celebrated in the city’s old homes, that is mainly concentrated in north Kolkata, where some pujas had a history of over 150 years.
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“We are all very concerned about this. The modern pujas, in big pandals, aren’t as affected. But for us, tradition dictates that the goddess leaves our home by 4 pm and is immersed by 7 pm. This is according to the rituals of Hinduism and hasn’t been violated for over a century. This decision has hurt our sentiments greatly,” said a patriarch of one such puja, who didn’t wish to be named, to Indian Express.
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