NGT says no blanket ban on idol immersion

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Nov 09, 2015 22:45 IST
The National Green Tribunal has said that people can immerse idols at designated ghats in the Yamuna. (Arun Sharma/HT)

Ahead of Diwali and Chhath festivals, the National Green Tribunal on Monday clarified that there was no blanket ban on idol immersion in the Yamuna, but can only be done at the designated places. The green tribunal said its earlier order had been misconstrued.

“We have never said that there is complete prohibition on idol immersion in river Yamuna. Our earlier order has been misconstrued. We respect the sentiments and faith of all religions. What we have said is that idol immersion should be done from a designated place so that the river doesn’t get polluted,” a bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.

The bench said it cannot allow the river to get polluted and hence its earlier order had prohibited throwing of puja material from anywhere, except from the designated ghats.

The green panel’s observation came on a plea filed by Ojasvi Party which claimed that due to the earlier order banning idol immersion in Yamuna, religious faith and sentiments of thousands of people had been hurt. The plea, filed through one Swami Omji Maharaj, claimed that during Diwali and Chhath several people immerse idols and Puja material and due to tribunal’s earlier order, their religious sentiments has been hurt.

The bench asked the ministry of environment and forests, Delhi government, Central Pollution Control Board and civic bodies to constitute a committee immediately and designate more spaces for idol immersion.

“You can develop a mechanism, where idols could be immersed and let it float or remain submerged for a distance and pulled out at another point,” the bench told advocate Balendu Shekher, representing the East Delhi Municipal Corporation, after he submitted that according to the tribunal’s earlier order proper compliance was being ensured.

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