Saffron camp prepares for weapon worship in Bengal on Bijoya Dasamikolkata Updated: Aug 11, 2017 07:37 IST
RSS workers take part in a shastra puja. A similar event will be held on Bijoya Dasami in West Bengal. (HT file photo)
After an unprecedented show on Ram Navami this year, the saffron camp is preparing for a ‘shastra puja’ in Bengal on Bijoya Dasami. According to a closely guarded plan, weapons such as swords and scythes and even firearms will be worshipped in different parts of the state and carried in processions.
The plan is a step forward after the unprecedented success of Ram Navami and Hanuman Jayanti celebrations on April 5, when hundreds of youths participated in processions displaying swords and other weapons. Rallies were organised in Bhawanipore near the residence of chief minister Mamata Banerjee.
Incidentally, Muharram, when Shia Muslims take out processions, often carrying swords to mourn the battle of Karbala, is slated on the next day, October 1.
Sachindranath Singha, Vishwa Hindu Parishad organisational secretary for West Bengal, Odisha, Sikkim and Andaman, told HT the organisation will take all legal steps if the Mamata Banerjee administration tries to stop shastra puja.
“We’ll see how the government can bar Hindus from taking out processions on Bijoya Dasami. Display of swords is not illegal and the government should not come in the way if licensed arms are worshipped ,” Singha said.
RSS and VHP usually celebrate the occasion with grandeur in various parts of the country. In other states, VHP and Bajrang Dal courted controversy several times for displaying firearms during shastra puja, and even for celebratory firing.
Shastra puja has never been popular in West Bengal. Bengalis celebrate Bijoya Dasami with sindoor khela, when married women spear each other’s face with vermilion. However, processions with lathis and swords are taken out in some areas such as Asansol, Kharagpur, Durgapur and Burnpur that are dominated by Hindi-speaking Hindus. “We do not have any specific information, but we will keep an eye on such celebrations,” said ADG law and order, Anuj Sharma.
In 2016, a series of low-intensity communal clashes took place in Bengal centering Bijoya Dasami and Muharram.
The saffron camp plan is likely to trigger a fresh controversy in the state. In April, following display of swords in Ram Navami processions, CM Mamata Banerjee threatened stringent actions against ‘illegal display of weapons’.