Hours after the Calcutta High Court on Thursday allowed immersion of Durga idols on all days from Vijayadashami on September 30, including on Muharram, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that the allegations of appeasement were extremely humiliating.
A defiant Trinamool Congress chief also said, “Slit my throat, but no one tells me what to do.”
Speaking at the inauguration of a community Durga Puja in south Kolkata, Banerjee reiterated that she will not allow any riots in the State.
“Everyone has the right to worship in the way they wish to. This is their fundamental right. If I go to a Muslim function, I am accused of appeasement. But when I go to a Hindu function, am I appeasing Hindus? I go to Chhat Puja also; am I appeasing Biharis then? When I go to the midnight mass on Christmas, am I appeasing Christians?”
Mamata added, “These allegations of appeasement are extremely humiliating. I believe in humanity. I believe the service of mankind is the biggest religion. I believe in a religion that stands for creation, not destruction. I abhor politics of division and riots. I do not support violence or creating a feud between people in the name of riots.”
Slamming the Modi government, she said, “The Centre is continuously misusing its agencies against us. But I believe that with the blessings of the divinity, we will defeat such conspiracies… People are living in peace and harmony. But some sections are trying to drive a wedge between them and incite violence.”
The TMC chief maintained, “We will not allow riots in Bengal. I am responsible for maintaining peace and prosperity. Those who try to destabilize harmony in the state will be held accountable.”
A division bench comprising acting Chief Justice Rakesh Tiwari and Justice Harish Tandon asked the state government on Thursday to chalk out designated routes for immersion and tazia processions.
It said that immersion of Durga idols would be held on all days from Vijayadashami on September 30 according to the Hindu almanac, including that on Muharram on October one when such processions were prohibited by the state administration.
The bench also directed the state government to put out advertisements giving information about the routes and also for ensuring amity and harmony between the communities.
It declined a plea of the TMC government for a stay on the order.
It asked the state authorities to file an affidavit on the prayers made by the petitioners within three weeks after the puja holidays and the petitioners to give their reply within another two weeks.
The matter would come up for hearing again five weeks after the vacation.
The state government had imposed restrictions on Durga idol immersion on September 30, the Vijayadashami day, after 10 pm and said no immersion would be allowed on October one, the day Muharram is scheduled to be observed.
The directions by the HC came on three public interest litigations (PILs) challenging the restrictions on the immersion of idols at the end of the five-day Durga Puja festival.
(With PTI inputs)