A Kolkata-based lawyer has sent a legal notice to the organisers of a Durga Puja committee in the city’s Dum Dum area for allegedly “hurting religious sentiments” by using slippers to decorate their pandal themed on the farmers’ protest against the Centre’s new agriculture laws, the Anandabazar Patrika reported on Saturday.
The notice was sent after Bharatiya Janata Party members, including leader of Opposition in West Bengal Suvendu Adhikari, also demanded that the slippers should be removed from the pandal.
Meanwhile, members of the Dum Dum Bharat Chakra Durga Puja Committee have said that the heap of slippers has been placed as an art installation to symbolise the farmers’ protests. They also pointed out that the installation has been put up at a distance from the actual pandal, PTI reported.
In the legal notice sent to the organisers, lawyer Prithvivijay Das has described himself as a “Sanatani Hindu” who is “unable to reconcile with the use of footwear in a Durga Puja pandal”, the Anandabazar Patrika reported.
Das warned the organisers of “harsh steps” if they do not remove the slippers. “This has hurt my religious sentiments,” he said in the notice. “This has been done intentionally to hurt the religious sentiments of the common people.”
Prateek Chaudhary, the secretary of the organising committee, however, said the art installation has been put up only as part of a larger theme aimed to showcase the farmers’ movement against the three agriculture laws passed in September last year.
The organisers said that their theme includes references to peasant movements of the past as well as the recent violence in Lakhimpur Kheri district of Uttar Pradesh. Eight persons, including four farmers, were killed during a protest against the farm laws.
On Saturday, BJP MLA Suvendu Adhikari urged the West Bengal government to “compel the organisers” to remove the shoes from the pandal.
“A Durga Puja pandal in Dumdum Park has been decorated with shoes,” he said in a tweet. “This heinous act of insulting Maa Durga in the name of ‘artistic liberty’ won’t be tolerated.”
Party leader and former Tripura governor Tathagata Roy also said that the shoes near the pandal hurt sentiments of the Hindu community, PTI reported.