Birbhum’s Durga Puja tussle

Artisans in Birbhum at work

Durga Puja, Dussehra and other festivals over the recent years have seen both Hindus and Muslims come together to celebrate the joyous occasion. If Muslims are part of Ramlila and Durga Puja idol making then Hindus help in taziya making and even fast with their Muslim brethren.

But for West Bengal’s Birbhum it has been four years since Durga Puja has not happened and there is a communal twist to the story. 300 odd households in Birbhum have had to run from pillar to post seeking permission from the administration to organize Durga Puja.

It is alleged that some Muslim families have denied the permission for Durga Puja festivities.

This trend has come to light at Kanglapahari village under Nalhati police station in the district, a Hindu-dominated village located near Bengal-Jharkhand border under Rampurhat sub-division.

The organizers have knocked every possible door but to no avail.

There are objections coming from 25 Muslim families in the village.

Artisans who started creating the figurines of Goddess Durga have had to abandon work half way through for the objections.

Sources in the district Trinamool Congress tell media outlets that police and other district officials have already held meetings at all block levels and finalised on the number of pujas that will be held across Birbhum this year.

This denial of permission dates back to 2013 when the villagers first wanted to hold the Durga puja in the Durga mandap that stands on a piece of private land. A permanent idol of Goddess Durga is already there at the mandap.

Meanwhile, the residents of Kanglapahari are fuming. It has been a long-standing dream for them to have their own Durga Puja in the village. This incident has created a sharp divide between Kanglapahari’s Hindu and Muslim residents who had been living in harmony for decades.


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