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No politics in immersion decision: West Bengal CM

No politics in immersion decision: West Bengal CMInsisting that this wasn’t politics of appeasement, chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday iterated that there won’t be any Durga Puja immersion on Muharram.TNN | Sep 17, 2017, 02:52 ISTWest Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee (File photo)West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee (File photo) KOLKATA: Insisting that this wasn't politics of appeasement, chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday iterated that there won't be any Durga Puja immersion on Muharram.
The 24-hour immersion ban on October 1 is to allow a window for Muharram processions, Banerjee said on Saturday. She added that citing the Mumbai Police example was "wrong" given the lesser num ber of Durga Pujas held in Mumbai compared to that in Kolkata.
While hearing a PIL, the Calcutta high court had on Friday lauded Mumbai Police for handling other religious processions and Ganesh Puja immersions simultaneously. The high court will hear the matter again on Monday. The state is likely to inform the HC that day whether the Dashami immersion time can be extended till 1:35am.
The court had specifically asked the state if the deadline could be stretched beyond midnight if no formal permission for Muharram processions is sought from police between 10pm on September 30 and 1.35am on October 1.
"That Mumbai Police is efficient doesn't mean Kolkata Police is inefficient. Durga Puja is not celebrated in other states as it is done in Bengal. Mumbai's Durga Puja celebrations and Kolkata's Durga Puja celebration cannot be equated. In Mumbai, Ganesh Puja is bigger. If Muharram and Ganesh Puja immersions were to coincide, can the Mumbai Polic e handle it?" she asked reporters in a hurriedly convened press conference at Nabanna. "We have been handling this for the last five years effectively. This (the dates coincidence) comes every 20-25 years. We don't decide the festival dates. It is there in the almanac," she said.
Strongly rebutting the Muslim appeasement charges against her, "How mcuh is the Muslim population in Mumbai? Maybe 8-10%. Or for that matter in Bihar or Uttar Pradesh? It is 11%. It is 30% in Bengal. Is it my making? Bengal has a history etched from the time when India, Pakistan and Bangladesh were one. They too are rightful citizens of the country.
"What did I say? I made it clear on August 23 itself on the 24-hour window for Muharram. Many households in Bengal believe they will not immerse idols on Ekadashi (October 1). They are spreading canards that the women can't play the traditional sindoor khela. This is wrong. Women can play sindoor khela as long as they like. This is Bengal's tradition. Why will anyone stop that? It needs to be noted that unlike Durga Puja celebrations, Muharram is an occasion of mourning. Barring October 1, immersion can be done on September 30 and October 2-4," she added.
Using the platform, Mamata launched an attack on the RSS, saying: "I had a feeling they promoted missionary culture. Now they seem to promote shopping mall culture. They are vitiating their own ideology. Religion can't be the basis for politics. They are spreading misinformation."
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