West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had announced that the "visarjan" ceremony, or idol immersion, would not be permitted for a 24-hour period on Muharram. "Immersion will resume as usual from October two to four", she had told reporters at the state secretariat.
The court began hearing the plea on Wednesday where it questioned the state government's decision to not immerse Durga idols on Muharram day and asked why the two communities can not celebrate their festivals together. Let them live in harmony.
In a big setback to Mamata Banerjee, the Calcutta High Court today lifted the restrictions imposed on Durga idol immersion by the West Bengal government. Do not create a line between them.
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"People have the right to practise their religious activities, whichever community they may be of, and the State can not put restrictions, unless it has a concrete ground to believe that two communities can not live together..." "Public order and law-and-order are administrative issues", Dutta submitted, while claiming that the court's interference in it would amount to trudging into the administration's domain.
Delivering a stern rebuke, the high court told the state not to curtail citizens' rights senselessly.
Earlier the court had rapped the Mamata government over the durga immersion rules, saying that it can't restrict way society follows rituals.
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"You can not interfere with the faith of the people, treat them with equality", Justice Tiwary said. Criticising the state government, the acting Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court, Justice Rakesh Tiwari, said, "There is a difference between regulation and prohibition".
The judges said that prohibiting immersions on a day is the ultimate step and was akin to ask police to open fire on agitators without going through the standard operating procedures of first using water cannons and then wielding sticks. The bench hearing the three PILs is expected to give its verdict on Thursday.
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