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Mamata warns VHP, Bajrang Dal, RSS against disturbing peace during Durga puja (Lead)

Kolkata, Sep 16 (IANS) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday issued a stern warning to right wing organisations including the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Bajrang Dal and RSS against disturbing peace in the state during the upcoming Durga puja festival, asking them not to “play with fire”.

“Some people of RSS, Bajrang Dal and VHP-brand… if they think they can snatch away peace and hurt Bengal’s culture, then let me tell them clearly that don’t play with fire. You be good and celebrate the Puja well,” Banerjee said here at the state secretariat.

Her comments came a day after the VHP announced its decision to organise “sashtra pujan” (weapon worship) during Bijoya Dashami in the state, despite Banerjee’s directive to police to prevent any such programme.

“Whoever it is, whether it’s you or I, Trinamool Congress, Congress, CPI-M, BJP… I will not spare anyone who orchestrates riots. Politics should be done with politics. Those who cannot do politics with politics they go for CBI, ED, riots, conspiracy. This is their game plan,” Banerjee said.

She said two persons associated with BJP’s Yuva Morcha were arrested by the police for trying to create communal problem in Raigunj.

Banerjee reiterated that there would be no Durga puja immersions on Ashura or the 10th day of Muharram (October 1).

The Trinamool Congress supremo said any rally with weapons is illegal and such processions won’t be permitted during the immersion.

“Any violation will be dealt with strongly,” she cautioned.

Massive rallies were organised by RSS and its affiliates like Hindu Jagran Manch across the eastern state on April 5 in grandiose Ram Navami celebrations which saw thousands of Hindu activists, including school children, walking on the road brandishing sticks and sharp weapons.

“Despite my announcement on Twitter, some people are intentionally spreading rumours. It was being said Mumbai police is efficient, Bengal Police is not. The way Durga puja is celebrated in Bengal, no other festival in celebrated in this manner in any other state. If someone thinks that Mumbai’s Durga puja and Bengal’s Durga puja are same, its not correct. But Ganesh chaturthi is celebrated on a large scale in Mumbai,” she said.

Banerjee also countered allegations of “appeasement” of a minority community.

“This is not about appeasement. In Mumbai, Muslim population is less than 10 per cent possibly, in Bihar its 11, UP is 11, in Bengal its 30 per cent. Have I done this? This figure has come into existence following Independence,” she said.

She also urged the Muslim community to take out their processions peacefully during Muharram.

With Ashura slated to be observed a day after Dussera or Bijoya Dashami (September 30), the administration had fixed September 30, as also October 2-4 as the dates for immersion of the idols of Durga and her children.

Reviewing the 6 p.m. Dashami (September 30) immersion deadline that was earlier announced by Banerjee, the state government on Friday told the Calcutta High Court the cut-off was extended to 10 p.m.


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