KOLKATA: The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday told the Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government not to create distinction between Hindus and Muslims by disallowing Muharram and Durga Puja processions on the same day.
Hearing a petition against a recent notification by West Bengal government disallowing Durga Puja immersion after 6 pm on September 30 (Dashami) and October 1 because of Muharram tazia, Calcutta High Court division bench demanded proof from the state on its speculation that allowing the two processions on the same day would cause communal clashes.
“Why can’t the two communities celebrate together? When you claim that Bengal is a beacon of communal harmony, then are you creating distinction between the Hindus and Muslims? Let them live in harmony. Don’t create a line between the two,” the court observed.
“What proof do you have that there would be problems between two communities if processions of both Durga Puja immersion and Muharram tazia are allowed on the same day. Where is the report if there is any intelligence alert? Why can’t the police manage the two processions by issuing them separate routes? “ the division bench remarked.
“People have the right to practise 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 said. The remarks by the Calcutta High Court are significant as it is expected to deliver its final judgment on the hearing on Thursday.
On the other hand, the West Bengal government fears that allowing the two processions on the same day would lead to a repeat of communal clashes that the state witnessed in six districts in October last year. Mamata Banerjee has already warned the saffron brigade against indulging in provocation during the processions.