The Calcutta High Court ordered a stay on West Bengal Chief Minister’s decision to pay Rs 10,000, to each of The 28,000 Durga Puja Committees in the state as reported by The Indian Express. The announcement was made by CM Mamta Banerjee on September 10, Rs 28 Crore was to be provided from Public exchequer under the community development programme.
The order came a day after All Bengal Minority Youth Federation (ABMYF) demanded a hike in the monthly stipends given to imams.
The High Court took the decision while hearing a Public Interest Litigation which was jointly filed by advocate Dyutiman Chatterjee and Sourav Gupta, a civilian. The court ordered an interim stay effective till October 9 by which the state government will have to file an affidavit clarifying the points raised by the Court about the purpose of using public money for a religious festival as reported by NDTV.
As reported by Hindustan Times, Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, the counsel for the petitioners and former Kolkata mayor said that the decision of the state government was unconstitutional since the country is secular. He further added that the government argued that the donation was towards the state’s campaign for safe driving. The court was reportedly unsatisfied with this reply and sought an affidavit.
Opposition Parties alleges vote bank politics ahead of Lok Sabha elections
The opposition parties welcomed Court’s order, who accused of the Mamata Banerjee’s government for trying to lure people ahead of Lok Sabha polls. BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said, “We welcome the court order. What the state government is doing is nothing but dole politics. Earlier also, with an eye on Muslim votes, the government had announced allowances for Imams. Now, this has been done to pacify Hindus… we all must remember that India is a secular country and we can’t preach such kind of politics”. CPI(M) leader and Lok Sabha MP Md Salim said that this was an unprecedented violation of the constitution.
“It is strange that the state has decided to provide funds for religious purposes of a particular segment of the population.,” said the petition filed by United Trades Union Congress, affiliated to Left party RSP, further adding that this would be in contradiction of the tenements of the constitution.
Reacting on the High Court’s stay on donation the Chief Minister said that the money has been already given and asked how would they now take it back from the puja committees now. Accusing the CM of appeasing the majority of Hindu Population in the state, Imams and youth clerics from Muslim Community organised a rally on Wednesday demanding a hike in the stipend provided to Imams.
The Logical Indian take
The politics of religion is a common practice in Indian Politics, one or the other party is always ready to target people from the specific religious community for the vote bank. There should be proper measurements to stop such practices as this kind of strategies can result in communal hatred and violence. As a democracy, India should take a strong action against the involvement of religion in Politics. There as chances of misuse and corruption if there is nobody to check the Government’s funds usage and allotments. A few days back there was a report from CAG how the UP government unnecessary provided funds without proper expenditure records from various departments, the report suggested corruption and misuse of people’s money on the name of funds provided to various programmes.