‘Does not forget Muharram’: BJP leader taunts Bengal CM over no to ritual
The BJP state unit had organised traditional Hindu rituals on the banks of the Hooghly river to pay homage to the souls of 32 party workers who the leadership said had died in political clashes in the last 12 months. However, police denied permission.Updated: Sep 16, 2020, 16:19 IST
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee is running a “tees per cent logon ki sarkar (a government that serves only 30 per cent of the state’s population)”, alleged Kailash Vijayvargiya, national general secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday, after the Kolkata Police stopped a religious programme of his party. The BJP leader added that the CM “does not forget Friday rituals and Muharram”.
VIjaywargiya did not specify as to which section he was referring to as 30 per cent. “The rights of 70 per cent of the population have been taken away. Yeh tees per cent logon ki sarkar hai (this is a government of 30 per cent people). Can’t we even hold tarpan (a Hindu ritual) in Bengal during Mamata Banerjee’s rule?” said the BJP leader this afternoon after the Kolkata police stopped a religious programme of his party.
“Mamata Ji does not forget Friday rituals and Muharram. But she is always against the Hindus. Is it a crime to observe Hindu rituals in West Bengal?” added Vijayvargiya.
The BJP state unit had organised traditional Hindu rituals on the banks of the Hooghly river to pay homage to the souls of 32 party workers who the leadership said had died in political clashes in the last 12 months. A pandal was set up on the banks of the river at Baghbazar. BJP president JP Nadda was supposed to attend it virtually from Delhi. Children and widows of the dead BJP workers were brought to the city for the Vedic ritual called tarpan.
Earlier in the day, the Kolkata police removed the pandal, saying social distancing norms were being violated and the programme could not be allowed in view of the Covid-19 pandemic. This led to chaos. Vijayvargiya and other senior leaders had an argument with the police and left the spot. Around noon, BJP workers held the rituals at another part of the river bank but the leadership stayed away.
“The police used the pandemic as an excuse to stop us. This is the first time we are seeing that people need permission from the police to hold tarpan. This government will surely be overthrown in the 2021 elections,” said BJP national executive member Mukul Roy, who was present at the spot.
“Our movement will not stop till this government is immersed in the river,” added BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha.
The Trinamool Congress (TMC) defended the police action.
“A religious programme was being politically used by the BJP. I was told the police did not allow it because social distancing norms were violated. This could not be allowed,” said Saugata Roy, TMC Lok Sabha member and spokesperson.
On Monday, the chief minister’s decision to give monthly stipend and houses to Brahmin priests triggered a debate, with the Congress, Left and BJP calling it a desperate move to secure Hindu votes before the crucial assembly polls next year.
Banerjee announced that her government will give a monthly stipend of Rs 1,000 to some 8000 Brahmin priests facing financial crisis and also provide houses to those who need one.