Kolkata: PIL to be filed to restrict gathering during Kali Puja, Jagadhatri Puja, Chhath Puja
West Bengal has witnessed a sharp spike in Covid-19 cases during the festive season with people coming out in large numbers for puja shopping, eating out and pandal-hopping without wearing masks and without maintaining physical distanceUpdated: Oct 30, 2020, 11:46 IST
A Kolkata lawyer is likely to move the Calcutta high court on Monday seeking orders to restrict the gathering of devotees and visitors during Kali Puja, Chhath Puja and Jagadhatri Puja, all three of which are scheduled in November.
On October 19, the Calcutta high court, while hearing a PIL filed by the same lawyer, had banned the entry of visitors in Durga Puja pandals and mandated the erection of barricades. The court had also capped the number of puja committee members who could enter the pandals.
“We are planning to move the high court again early next week. Kali Puja, Jagadhatri Puja and Chhath Puja will take place in November. Lakhs of people are expected to gather in some districts where these pujas are celebrated in a big way. We will seek orders to restrict gatherings as there is a pandemic and relaxation could lead to a massive surge in Covid-19 cases,” said Sabyasachi Chatterjee, the lawyer who filed the Durga Puja PIL for petitioner Ajay Kumar De.
West Bengal has witnessed a sharp spike in Covid-19 cases during the festive season with people coming out in large numbers for puja shopping, eating out and pandal-hopping without wearing masks and without maintaining physical distance. Even though because of the pandemic and the high court order, Durga Puja celebrations were muted this year, the state is now reporting around 4,000 new cases every day.
“While Jagadhatri Puja is celebrated in a big way in Hooghly district, some places such as Barasat in North 24 Parganas celebrate Kali Puja in a big way. In 2019, devotees had violated the National Green Tribunal directions while celebrating Chhath Puja in Kolkata. The pandemic is going on and there need to be some restrictions,” Chatterjee added.
In West Bengal, the maximum number of cases is being reported from Kolkata and North 24 Parganas. Around 900 new cases are being reported from each of these two districts.
Citing the example of Kerala which witnessed a massive surge in Covid-19 cases after guidelines were relaxed during the festival of Onam, a doctors’ forum in West Bengal had warned the Mamata Banerjee administration that a similar situation could arise in the state after the festive season if the authorities showed laxity.
On October 26, West Bengal had reported 4,121 new Covid-19 cases, which was the second-highest number of cases in India after Kerala. While Kerala with 4,287 cases topped the list, Maharashtra with 3,645 cases ranked third.