Headlines October 21, 2020
Kolkata Durga Puja organisers seek review of High Court order
Top Durga Puja organisers in Kolkata have asked the Calcutta High Court to review its order declaring puja pandals as “no-entry zones” for visitors because of the coronavirus outbreak. The High Court will hear its request today.
An umbrella group of organisers have approached the court for this with just two days left or Bengal’s biggest festival.
On Monday the High Court said only organisers would be allowed inside pandals. The court also asked organisers to put up barricades outside pandals.
The Durgotsav Forum had expressed shock at the order.
“This is a huge setback for us. For four months, we have been working at making things safe for visitors. We had made masks mandatory, sanitising gates were in place, we bought machines for thermal screening. Our exit gates were bigger than entry gates, said Saswat Bose, Chief of the forum.
Last month, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had announced plans to “put coronavirus in lockdown and hold the puja this year”, implying that the rival BJP would try to blame her if the festival was cancelled and even if there was a virus spike after the Puja”. “We will surely organise the Durga Puja this year. We have to avoid crowds at any cost because vultures are sitting out there to blame us if we don’t allow the puja or if any spike occurs after the puja. They have no responsibility,” she said.
After the court order, Mamata Banerjee met with the administration to decide on the next step.
Bengal has reported over 3.2 lakh COVID-19 cases and more than 6,000 deaths so far.
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