Sangh Parivar organise unprecedented Ram Navami celebration across Bengal
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)-affiliates celebrated Ram Navami with unprecedented fanfare in the state capital and across the state on Wednesday, with many of the rallies comprised participants, including youth and children, displaying such weapons as sword and trident. State BJP president and senior RSS functionary, Dilip Ghosh, himself carried a sword while participating in a procession in West Midnapore district.
In Kolkata, tableaus decked up with saffron triangular flags and carrying the idol of Ram Darbar, or people dressed up as Ram, Laxman, Sita and Hanuman were taken out from 22 locations and covered nearly all major crossings. The slogan ‘mandir wahi banayenge’ was raised from many of these rallies. Rightwing Hindutva organisations Vishva Hindu Parishad, Hindu Jagran Manch and various other outfits affiliated to RSS organised these rallies.
While most senior BJP leaders participated in these rallies, chief minister Mamata Banerjee took a dig at BJP for trying to politicise a religious festival. “For years, Ram Navami is being celebrated by various organisations. It has no connection with BJP at all. Why are you trying to claim this festival to be your own?” she said while addressing a gathering in Bankura district in the western part of the state.
On Tuesday, BJP state president had supported the idea of carrying weapons in the Ram Navami rallies. “People may carry any kind of weapon that our gods of 33 koti (types) carry. What is the problem if Hindus display their faith and strength?” Ghosh had said on the eve of the festival.
Apart from Kolkata, mega rallies were carried out by the saffron camp in the districts of West Mindpaore, East Midnapore, Howrah, Birbhum, North Dinajpur and Nadia.
Significantly, in a bid to prove that the celebration of Ram Navami was not exclusively BJP’s domain, Trinamool Congress supporters, too, carried out Ram Navami processions in different districts, including Darjeeling, Alipurduar and East Midnapore.
The Left and the Congress, however, distanced themselves from the celebrations. Taking a dig at both BJP and Trinamool Congress for playing politics in the name of religion, Sujan Chakraborty, the leader of CPI(M)’s legislative party, said, “One party (read Trinamool) had hijacked the Durga puja celebrations and now another has hijacked the celebration of Ram Nabami. The latter kicked off the trend of taking out processions carrying weapons. This is not going to do Bengal any good.”