'Secular' Durga Puja Pandal In Kolkata Receives Backlash For Playing Azaan
The festival of Navratri or Durga puja is one of the most auspicious events in West Bengal. The idol of Goddess Durga is worshipped for nine days at homes and even at pandals set up at various public spaces. Every year the themes of pandal’s spark awe and applause from onlookers. One such pandal at Beliaghata in Kolkata is set up with the theme, “amra ek, eka noye” (we are together not alone)”. Aimed at promoting secularism the pandal faced flak when a recording of ‘Azaan’ was allegedly played there. However The organisers dismissed the allegations saying some people are harming the peace intentionally.
A complaint has been filed in the matter by advocate Santanu Singha naming 10 people, including the club secretary of the puja pandal. “These persons have categorically involved in disturbing the peace and tranquillity in the State of West Bengal by allowing to run Azaan in the Durga Puja Pandal which has come to my knowledge by the video forwarded to me by Vishwa Hindu Parishad. The said video categorically show that Azaan is being played in the Durga Puja Pandal and as such it has hit the sentiments of the Hindu religion and against the rules of the Society. The said persons have intentionally played Azaan in the sacred Durga Puja Pandal and therefore with deliberate intent has wounded religious feelings,” read Singha’s complaint.
However, the organiser denied the allegations. “It’s being politicised unnecessarily. We all know that in Kolkata, Durga Puja pandals are created in a way as to give a social message. Our theme is “amra ek, eka noye” (We are together, not alone). To demonstrate the theme, we have used models of church, temple and mosque and have used their symbols. Our purpose is to show that humanity is above all religion. Some people have conveniently ignored the Hinduism- and Christian-related messages and are creating controversy over a message in Urdu. It is not true and completely fake that Azaan is being played during Maa Durga Puja,” The Indian Express quoted organisers as saying.
According to police there has been a vigilant eye towards the social media posts related to Beliaghata pandal by the cyber cell, but no action has been taken yet and the possibility of an FIR lies in uncertainty.