The Mamata government via its policies has ensured that the immersion of the Maa Durga idols has become a bigger news than the festival itself, which starts from 26th September.
Like last year, the Mamata government had imposed restrictions on the immersion of the idols wherein no immersion would be allowed on 1st October, the day of Muharram. Plus immersions would be restricted from 10 PM on 30th September.
This led to PILs getting filed in the Calcutta High Court against this decision. The High Court as a result first pulled up the Mamata government and then later put a stay order on the decision. The court also rebuked the Mamata government by stating that it was exercising extreme power without any basis.
After the judgement, the Mamata government was reportedly expected to challenge this decision in the Supreme Court but reports later claimed that it had decided against the same.
But rather than calmly accepting it and simply ensuring that different routes are created for Durga Puja immersions and Muharram processions, the government has thrown another spanner in the works.
According to reports, the Mamata government has now made it compulsory for the Durga Puja organisers to take permission from the police if they wish to immerse idols on the day of Muharram. This decision was taken at a meeting in the state secretariat which was chaired by Mamata Banerjee.
The State director general of police Surajit Kar Purakayastha as a result also told the media that the police might deny permission for immersion if it felt that the “communal harmony” would be disturbed.
According to him:
The police will evaluate the safety aspects involved with the procession and immersion and take a final call on whether to accept or reject the application
The report claimed that the permission applications would also have to be submitted “well in advance”. With 1st October just a week away, it would be interesting to see what the interpretation of “well in advance” be for the authorities.
The report also claimed that the legislators of the Trinamool Congress would be “persuading” Durga Puja organisers in their constituency to refrain from immersions on 1st October.
It remains to be seen as to how many Durga Puja immersions end up happening on that day, as such a “Permission Raj” might easily be morphed into sort of an unofficial ban by the state.