Featured Image: File photo of a Durga Idol immersion in Kolkata.
By A Newsman
Kolkata, 17 October: BENGAL government has extended the restriction on immersion of Durga Idols on 23 and 24 October throughout the state.
Earlier, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had on 18 September announced at an event at Netaji Indoor Stadium about restricting immersion of Idols in Kolkata on those two days as the dates clash with Muharram.
This is to avoid traffic snarls that would be caused if Muharram procession and Durga Idol immersion are allowed simultaneously, and also for better law and order, the Chief Minister had said.
“We have sent a directive to all the district administrations and heads of police stating that immersion of Durga Idols should be on 22 October (which simultaneously happens to be Navami and Dashami this year) and again on 25 and 26 October. There will be no immersion on 23 and 24 October,” Bengal home secretary Basudev Banerjee told Newsmen over the phone.
On being told that there was confusion among puja organisers about the immersion dates, the home secretary said that it should not be.
“The directive has been communicated right up to the ground level and all police stations have been asked to hold meetings with local puja organisers and brief them properly. We in fact reviewed the arrangements in the districts over a video-conference last Saturday (10 October) and found everything in order,” Banerjee said.
Siliguri SDO Rajanvir Singh Kapur confirmed having received the directive and said that they were all geared up to implement it.
Going by the state government directive, immersion of Idols will be allowed on 22 October, mainly for household Durga Pujas.
Immersion of Idols for community Durga Pujas will start from 12 noon on 25 October and continue until night. On 26 October, the immersion will resume at 8 am and will be concluded by 2 pm as Laxmi Puja falls on that day.
Going by the almanac, Vijay Dashami this year falls on 22 October, when the Idols of goddess Durga are traditionally immersed into river. But over the years, many community puja organisers have developed the tendency to perform the ritual even a day or two after Vijay Dashami.
Muharram, on the other hand, depends on the sighting of the moon, which this year is expected on 23 October evening. Following this, Muharram processions are likely to be taken out both on 23 October evening and on 24 October.