KOLKATA: Two organisations promoting Bengali sub-nationalism in West Bengal urged Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Tuesday to allow Durga Puja celebrations in the northern state with adherence to the COVID-19 protocol.
Adityanath had directed officials during a review meeting on Monday to "apply all precautions during the upcoming festive season" in view of the COVID-19 situation, an official statement of the Uttar Pradesh government said.
Some media reports, however, claimed Adityanath had said no Durga Puja or Diwali celebrations will be allowed in Uttar Pradesh this year to avoid mass gathering, while Ramlila will be permitted with strict adherence to the COVID-19 protocol.
UP Govt’s order that Durga Puja should be done at home is unfair & even absurd. Like the allowances for Ram Lila, Durga Puja should be permitted with harsh but sensible restrictions. Otherwise it is discriminatory. Bengali Hindus in UP appeal to @myogiadityanath to review order— Swapan Dasgupta (@swapan55) September 29, 2020
Referring to such reports, Bengali outfit Bangla Pokkho, said in a statement, "The Constitution of India guarantees every citizen to celebrate his/her own culture, tradition, and religious sentiment. In compliance with the fundamental rights that our constitution has to offer, we demand that public celebration of Durga Puja be allowed with all COVID-19 safety protocols".
"We have nothing against any decision to limit the number of people gathering in a place. But we request the UP administration not to prevent Durga Puja celebrations altogether," a spokesperson of the outfit said.
The statement said Durga Puja, the most auspicious occasion for Bengalis across the world, is not only integrally associated with the religious sentiment of the Bengali community but also complements its culture and value system.
Siddhabrata Das, spokesperson of another such outfit, Jatiya Bangla Sammelan, posted on social media, "Is Bengali's Durga Puja banned in Uttar Pradesh as we are on the way to become a Hindu Rashtra?" "Who will Shri Ramchandra worship during Navaratri if there is no Durga Puja?" Das said in another post.
He said there should be equal norms and yardstick for both Durga Puja and Ramlila.
An official of the Uttar Pradesh government, however, told PTI in Lucknow that no such advisory has been issued with regard to Durga Puja celebrations in the northern state.
The five-day Durga Puja festivities will begin on October 22.