The Commonwealth Games may well prove to be a roadblock for those religious celebrations in the city, that clash with the Games.
It’s why the Delhi Police have asked organisers of Ramlila and Durga Puja to keep it “low key”, as a chunk of its force would be diverted towards providing security at the venues and to foreign delegates.
The organisers, however, are defiant and claim that the celebrations would go on as every year and that they would deploy more private security guards and not compromise on the religious fervour.
Two of the biggest festivals in the city Durga Puja and Ramnavami are coinciding with the Games. Of the 80,000 plus strong force that the Delhi Police have, atleast 40,000 would be on Games duty.
Delhi Police said they will not be able to provide manpower for the melas (fairs) that are held along with the Ramlila. Police say these fairs have no religious connotations and are commercial in nature.
“Police can say that the melas have no symbolic religious values but they are intrinsic to our tradition. How can they not provide us permission? We have applied for a license and are sure we will get one,” said Ravi Jain of Shri Dharmik Ramila Committee.
The Games, to be held from October 3 14, coincide with Ramlilas, which will be held from October 8 17. The city police chief had earlier asked the organisers to hold the fairs and cultural functions from October 15 onwards.
“The force would be committed to the Commonwealth Games, we will provide security for the Ramlilas and not the fairs,” said Karnal Singh, joint commissioner of police (JCP), northern range.
The four biggest Ramlilas of Delhi are held in Chandni Chowk area of north Delhi. Delhi Police had also suggested that the major Durga Puja festivals be clubbed together.
Chittaranjan Park in south Delhi hosts 11 festivals including five big ones. “Clubbing of Pujas is not possible,” said Jadab Dey of the Durga Puja Samiti, Chittaranjan Park.