KOLKATA: The Mamata Banerjee government’s decision to restrict the immersion of Goddess Durga idols to avoid any overlap with Muharram processions was cancelled today by a court. “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. Yesterday, the court had said: “Let them (Hindus and Muslims) live in harmony, do not create a line between them.”
Here are the top 10 updates in this story:
1.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”.
2.Acting Chief Justice Rakesh Tiwary today said 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 judges.
3.Three petitions have challenged the restrictions on the traditional immersion of idols at the end of the five-day Durga Puja.
4.”You cannot interfere with the faith of the people, treat them with equality,” Justice Tiwary said.
5.Yesterday, the court had also noted that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had herself said at a public meeting that Hindus and Muslims lived together in harmony in the state. “Listen to what the head of the state says, not a police officer,” said the court.
6.”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.
7.The court suggested that the administration regulate the routes for the immersion processions and those for the ‘Tajia’ processions for Muharram.
8.The state government had argued that the restrictions were “a preventive action to rule out any possibility of a law-and-order situation.”
9.But the court said while it didn’t dispute the state’s right to regulate, the administration cannot restrict one’s religious rights.
10.”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.