In a big setback to Mamata Banerjee, the Calcutta High Court today lifted the restrictions imposed on Durga idol immersion by the West Bengal government. According to ANI, the Calcutta HC has allowed Durga idols’ immersion till 12 a.m. on all days including on the day of Muharram, which is observed by the Muslims. The court has asked the police to ensure separate routes are designated for Durga idol immersion by Hindus and Tazia by Muslims.
On Wednesday, the HC had questioned the West Bengal government’s curbs on Durga idol immersion. The Calcutta High Court had said the State cannot hinder a citizen’s right to practise religion on the basis of a mere assumption of law and order disruption and must provide sound reasons for doing so. “Let them (Hindus and Muslims) live in harmony, do not create a line between them,” Acting Chief Justice Rakesh Tiwary said, according to PTI. Justice Tiwary asked the state government to provide a “concrete ground” for its decision to stop the immersion of Durga idols after 10 pm on September 30 (Vijaya Dashami day) and on October 1 on account of Muharram.
What HC said earlier
The court made these observations while hearing three PILs challenging the restrictions on immersion of idols at the end of the five-day Durga Puja festival. The bench also comprised of Justice Harish Tandon.
“People have the right to practise their religious activities, whichever community they may be of, and the State cannot put restrictions, unless it has a concrete ground to believe that two communities cannot live together…You must clarify why are you apprehending a law-and-order situation,” the bench had told state Advocate General (AG) Kishore Dutta.
Dutta had claimed that it was the administration’s prerogative to decide on steps to prevent any untoward situation.
The clash of Dashami and Muharram on the same day has turned into a new battleground between the ruling TMC and the aspiring BJP in the state.