RJD seeks permission for Chhath Puja in Mumbai
The Rashtriya Janata Dal seeks police permission to hold Chhath Puja in Mumbai, a full seven months before the festival is due in November.Updated: May 13, 2008, 03:00 IST
Not taking chances after Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray's campaign against north Indian migrants, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) has sought police permission to hold Chhath Puja in Mumbai, a full seven months before the festival is due in November.
Addressing mediapersons here Monday evening, state RJD spokesman Thakur Manoj Singh said the party was taking extra precautions to ensure that the MNS did not put a spanner in its plans.
"Moreover, at least nine central ministers, including (Railway Minister and party chief) Lalu Prasad, and others have consented to attend the Chhath Puja in Mumbai," Singh said.
The application has been submitted to Mumbai Police joint commissioner (law and order) K.L. Prasad, and it will be followed up by a writ petition in the Bombay High Court next month, Singh said.
When contacted by IANS, Prasad denied knowledge of any such application.
Singh said: "We have no faith in the Maharashtra government and we are unsure whether it will permit us to hold our religious festival."
However, Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, talking to reporters in Latur, said he intended to attend the Chhath Puja to be organised by the RJD here Nov 3-4.
He pointed out that though it is not necessary to seek police or legal permission for purely religious functions, the RJD was not taking any chances on account of the "atmosphere" prevalent in the state.
He was alluding to Raj Thackeray's recent statements that north Indians in the state should refrain from celebrating any of their festivals in Maharashtra.
Chhath Puja a festival popular especially in Bihar, where RJD is the main opposition party.
The MNS had launched an agitation against north Indians settled in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra in February which had led to sporadic incidents of violence against them.