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Friday, Aug 16, 2019

Mamata Banerjee’s restriction on Durga idol immersion greatest blunder: VHP

The Trinamool Congress government had imposed restrictions in 2016 on the immersion processions because Bijoya Dashami, the last day of the festival when such processions are taken out, coincided with Muharram.

india Updated: Aug 15, 2019 12:25 IST
Snigdhendu Bhattacharya
Snigdhendu Bhattacharya
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
The VHP and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) had accused the government of interfering with the rights of Hindus to appease Muslims after the order.
The VHP and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) had accused the government of interfering with the rights of Hindus to appease Muslims after the order.(Mohd Zakir/HT FILE PHOTO)
         

The Mamata Banerjee government’s restrictions on immersion of Durga idols in view of Muharram processions in 2016 turned out to be the game-changer for Hindutva forces in West Bengal, a senior VHP official has said.

The Trinamool Congress government had imposed restrictions in 2016 on the immersion processions because Bijoya Dashami, the last day of the festival when such processions are taken out, coincided with Muharram.

The VHP and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) had then accused the government of interfering with the rights of Hindus to appease Muslims after the order.

The same restriction was imposed again in 2017 on the same ground but Banerjee’s decision was challenged at the Calcutta High Court. The administration faced a setback in the court.

Also read: Calcutta HC pulls up state for puja restrictions meant to ‘appease’ minorities

Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s international joint general secretary Surendra Jain said in Kolkata on Wednesday Mamata Banerjee’s decision “to help Muslims observe Muharram changed the situation in Bengal”.

“Before that, our national executive members from Bengal would always complain about the difficult situations they had to face. Imposing restriction on Durga immersion was Mamata Banerjee’s greatest blunder. Our campaign and activities picked up momentum thereafter,” Jain said.

Jain’s remarks came amid Mamata Banerjee’s protest against the income tax department’s notice to Durga puja organising committees. The I-T department has asked the organising committees to deduct 1% TDS on payments above Rs 30,000 made to idol makers and service providers. Banerjee has said that the notice is a direct attack on the sentiment of Bengali Hindus.

Jain was in Kolkata to launch the organisation’s Hindi mouthpiece Hindu Vishwa’s special issue on West Bengal. Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s south Bengal general secretary Jisnu Basu and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s refugee cell head, Mohit Ray, were also present during the launch.

Bijoya Dashami celebration is one of the most colourful part of Bengal’s biggest annual festival and Muharram is when Shia Muslims mourn the battle of Karbala.

First Published: Aug 15, 2019 12:25 IST

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