Concerned about the threat of sectarian violence because the Hindu festival Dussehra comes a day before Muharram, the Muslim day of mourning, this year, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee on Wednesday evening urged people to cooperate with each other and avoid provocative behavior, according to media reports.
Addressing a large crowd of Durga Puja organisers, leaders of the Muslim community and other religions, the chief minister said that Durga idol immersions, set for September 30 after the four-day Puja festival ends, would be allowed only until 6 pm on that day and would resume on October 2, after Muharram, because processions to mark Muharram on October 1 would begin the previous evening.
She said, “We will request all puja organizers not to hold immersions after 6pm on Dashami, September 30. No immersions will be allowed on October 1. As a concession, we will allow immersions till October 4. The Red Road carnival will be held on October 3. Muharram is not a festival we must keep that in mind. It’s our responsibility. I have heard that some people have plans to disturb and drive people in a wrong path.”
The chief minister also urged people to ignore posts on social media platforms that encourage communal disturbances.
She added, “Some people will try to create trouble on Hindu-Muslim grounds. Every religion is ours. But if there is a problem while a procession is passing a puja pandal, we will all will be affected.”