Cracker ban goes up in smoke on Dussehra: Chandigarh Police lodge 10 FIRs
As many as five Ramlila associations and seven individuals are facing legal action for violating the firecracker ban imposed by the Chandigarh administration during the Dussehra celebrations on Friday.
Police on Friday night booked five Ramlila associations for use of crackers while burning Ravana effigies at the Dussehra events in Sectors 28 and 34, and Maloya and Manimajra.
Three people were also booked for bursting crackers near the Dussehra ground in Bapu Dham Colony, Sector 26.
On Saturday, similar cases were registered against one Naseem, who burst crackers at Ramlila Ground, Sector 27D, and two unidentified people who violated the ban at the Circus Ground in Sector 17 and Ramlila Ground in Sector 29.
As the sale of crackers is also prohibited in the city, a shopkeeper from Sector 42 was also booked for violating the order.
May face six-month jail
All FIRs have been lodged under Section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the Indian Penal Code. If proven guilty, the convicts may face imprisonment up to six months or fine up to ₹1,000.
Reacting to the police action, president of the Sector 28 Ramlila Association, Bikram Singh said, “It has hurt our religious sentiments as Hindus. Other religious communities are allowed to celebrate their festivals anyway they like, so why the bias against us? The administration will harass us in a similar manner on Diwali.”
Gulshan Kumar, president of the Sector 20 Ramlila Association, that had organised the Dussehra celebrations in Sector 34, said, “These cases are frivolous. Why wasn’t the ban on crackers shared when we were given permission for the event? Adhering to the ban, which came two days before the event, would have required ripping the effigies apart to remove the crackers.”
City BJP chief to take up matter with governor
BJP unit head Arun Sood, who was present at the Sector-34 event, where crackers were burst despite a warning by the SDM (South), said any criminal action against people for just celebrating a festival was unacceptable.
Stating that he will speak to the Punjab governor and UT administrator about this, Sood said, “The authorities with their dictatorial orders have hurt Hindu sentiments. After I raised concerns over whether the NGT order will be applicable in Chandigarh on Dussehra, why didn’t the administration check its legality? It is not wrong to break an unfair law and Gandhiji had done the same by making salt at Sabarmati.”
Sood added that effigies erected in Sector 40 and Ram Darbar couldn’t even burn properly without crackers, which was inauspicious as per Hindu customs regarding cremations.
He said a complaint had also been submitted at the Sarangpur police station about cops, who misbehaved with children and kicked down a four-foot Ravana made by them.
A day before the festival, Sood had called a meeting with two Ramlila bodies of the city and told them to celebrate the festival as per traditions and that he will ensure they don’t face any action. Even after the FIRs, the organisers laid blame with the authorities.
“We have registered FIRs against the violators, and anyone found instigating people to violate the cracker ban will not be spared,” said Kuldeep Singh Chahal, senior superintendent of police (SSP), Chandigarh.