On August 24 the West Bengal government led by Mamata Banerjee had issued a diktat for Hindus to wait for immersing the idols of Durga. Post the celebration of Navratri, no idols of Durga were to be allowed for immersion in rivers or any other water bodies after 6 pm on the day of Vijaya Dashmi and the temporary ban was to be in effect until the following day.
According to the government, it had taken the decision in view of Muharram falling on the same day. The Calcutta High Court had, however, ruled that Durga idol immersion would continue on all days and had said that Mamata Banerjee government was “exercising extreme power without any basis”.But despite the high court’s order, out of more than 25,000 Durga Puja setups across the state, only a handful of organizers immersed Durga idols on Vijaya Dashmi and the following day. Why?
Following the court’s ruling, the Mamata Banerjee government had issued another order according to which a permission from the state’s police was mandatory for immersion.
In fact, till Friday, the police had not received even a single application for permission of idols’ immersion.But why did that happen? Reportedly, 95 percent of the Durga Puja committees have Trinamool Congress members associated with them. So they might not have wanted to invite the exasperation of their boss by carrying out the immersion on Vijaya Dashmi and the following day. This is the factor that could have pivoted the plans of Durga idol immersion in favor of the TMC government.
Also, there was some religious conception of not immersing the idol on Ekadashi, the day following Dashmi which was used as an excuse by many Durga Puja committees.While there were many who did not want to invite any sort of controversy and hence postponed the immersion. The five-day Durga Puja festivals came to an end on Saturday with the immersion of idols passing off peacefully.
According to the Kolkata Police, nearly 400 Durga idols were immersed in the city till 6 pm, of the 1,000-odd scheduled for the day, without any untoward incident reported from anywhere.
The organisers of most of the household and community pujas proceeded with the idol immersion at different ghats of the Hooghly river and other waterbodies throughout the state.
Besides the police, personnel from the State Civil Defence, civic bodies, Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) and River Traffic Police were also deployed to monitor the immersions, while speed boats of the navy kept a vigil.
Most of the household Durga idols were immersed at the 22 designated ghats under the jurisdiction of the Kolkata Police. The women took part in the ‘Sindoor Khela’ ritual, smearing vermilion on each other. They offered sweets and prayers to the goddess while the young swayed merrily to the rhythmic beats of the dhak (drums).
People were seen exchanging greetings on the occasion of Vijaya Dashami.
Elaborate security arrangements were put in place by the Kolkata Police to ensure security and maintain peace during the immersions.
Among the big community pujas, the idol of the Deshapriya Park puja is scheduled to be immersed on Saturday while the rest are scheduled between October 2 and 4.
For the second year in a row, nearly 75 big budget community pujas would participate in a colourful immersion procession in the city on October 3, police officials said.
Those living on either side of the Ichamati river — at Taki in Basirhat and Satkhira in Bangladesh, along the Indo- Bangla border — witnessed a spectacle. While the immersion of the Durga idols was on from boats at these places, greetings were exchanged between the people from either side of the border.
The immersion of Durga idols will continue on all days from today, including on Muharram (tomorrow), till October4.