KOLKATA: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee flagged off the ISKCON’s Jagannath Rath Yatra in Kolkata on Thursday. Trinamool Congress (TMC) Member of Parliament (MP) Nusrat Jahan accompanied by her husband Nikhil Jain attended the Yatra procession.
Sporting a lime green saree, red bangles (Chuooda), a “mangalsutra” and vermilion, the newly-elected lawmakertook also took part in the Rathyatra ritual.
Jahan, whose stand on religion and inclusiveness is “in sync” with the ISKCON’s spirit of “social harmony”, has been invited as a special guest at the inauguration ceremony.
“In West Bengal, we participate in festivals irrespective of caste, creed or religion. Bengal symbolises amity,” the MP from Basirhat said.
While speaking to media on reports that a fatwa was issued against her, Nusrat Jahan said,
“I don’t pay heed to things which are baseless. I know my religion. I have been a Muslim by birth and I am still a Muslim. It’s about faith. You have to feel it inside your heart and not in your head.”
Kolkata’s Albert Road centre of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) Rath Yatra is considered to be the second largest after Odisha’s Puri Rath Yatra.
The festivities of Rath Yatra will conclude on July 12.
Jahan, who got married to a Kolkata-based businessman and was heavily trolled for wearing vermilion and sporting a ‘mangalsutra’ at her oath-taking ceremony, had said, she represents an “inclusive India… which is beyond the barriers of caste, creed and religion.”
Refusing to toe the line of hardline Muslim clerics who had criticised her, the first-time MP from West Bengal’s Basirhat had said, “… I still remain a Muslim… And none should comment on what I choose to wear… Faith is beyond attire.”
With ANI inputs