In a potentially controversial decision, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday announced that the immersion of Goddess Durga idols will not be permitted during Muharram this year.
Addressing a meeting of Durga Puja committees, Mamata said that Durga idol immersions, set for September 30 after the end of Durga Puja festival, would be allowed only till 6 pm on that day and would resume on October 2 only, after Muharram.
She made it clear that there would not be any idol immersion on October 1, on the scheduled day of Muharram.
“Immersion will resume on October 2 and will continue till October 4,” she added.
Asking people of West Bengal to cooperate with each other and not to fall prey to provocation leading to communal problems, Mamata Banerjee said, “Why should we take the blame because of some people who are trying to take political advantage? ”
The chief minister also asked the people not to pay heed to posts on social networking sites leading to communal disturbances.
“It is the latest trend. People are posting fake photos of incidents on social networking sites. People must be very cautious about this and remember that cybercrime is also a crime,” she said.
Stressing that the administration would not let anybody disturb the secular atmosphere of the state, Banerjee said that police would take action in such cases.
“Muharram is not a festival we must keep that in mind. It’s our responsibility. I have heard that some people have plans to disturb and drive people in a wrong path,” she said stressing that the puja committees should play a “bigger role” in this context.
"This year Durga Puja and Muharram fall on the same day. Except for a 24 hour period on the day of Muharram, immersions can take place on October 2, 3 and 4,” she twitted later in the day.
This year Durga Puja & Muharram fall on the same day. Except for a 24 hour period on the day of Muharram... 1/2— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) August 23, 2017
... Immersions can take place on October 2, 3 and 4... 2/2— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) August 23, 2017
Mamata Banerjee had issued a similar order in 2016 as well. However, it was stayed by the Calcutta High Court last year.
(With PTI inputs)