Kolkata: “Durga idols can be immersed in West Bengal on all days including Muharram,” the High Court said today, overruling the Mamata Banerjee government, which had ordered restrictions on the annual tradition to avoid any overlap with Muharram processions.
“You are exercising extreme power without any basis…Just because you are the state, can you pass arbitrary order?” the Calcutta High Court said on the recent order banning idol immersions after 10 pm on September 30 – when Durga Puja ends – and on October 1, when Muslims will mark Muharram.
“Let them (Hindus and Muslims) live in harmony, do not create a line between them.” During arguments over the past two days, the court said a state “cannot hinder a citizen’s right to practice religion assuming that there will be law and order problems”.
“The Mamata Banerjee government must provide concrete grounds for its decision.”If you dream that something will go wrong, you cannot impose restrictions,” said the Acting Chief Justice Rakesh Tiwary.
“You cannot interfere with the faith of the people, treat them with equality,” Justice Tiwary said.
“Hindus and Muslims lived together in harmony in the state,” Mamata Banerjee had herself said at a public meeting. Responding to it the court said: “Listen to what the head of the state says, not a police officer”.
“If you say there is complete harmony, are you (the state administration) not creating a line of division between the two communities by your action?” the court questioned.
“People have the right to practice their religious activities, whichever community they may be of, and the state cannot put restrictions, unless it has a concrete ground to believe that two communities cannot live together,” the acting chief justice commented.
The court ordered the administration to regulate the routes for the immersion processions and those for the ‘Tajia’ processions for Muharram.