Calcutta HC refuses to pass order to remove slippers from Durga Puja pandal showing farmers’ plight
A Kolkata resident had filed a plea seeking directions to remove the slippers alleging that it disrespected the Hindu deity.
The Calcutta High Court on Thursday refused to pass an order directing to remove slippers, put up as an art installation, at a Durga Puja Pandal in Kolkata’s Dum Dum area, Live Law reported.
The slippers were used to decorate the pandal themed on the farmers’ protest against the Centre’s new agriculture laws.
Santanu Singha, a Kolkata resident, had filed a petition seeking directions to remove the slippers. He contended that displaying shoes at the pandal amounted to “disrespect” towards the Hindu deity Durga and that it “hurt the sentiments of the people of West Bengal”.
Advocate General SN Mookerjee, representing the West Bengal government, argued that the shoes were part of the pandal’s “thematic display” to show the protest of farmers against the agriculture laws.
He added that no shoes were kept in the sanctum sanctorum of the pandal and there was a distance of 11 feet between the art installation and the deity. He also said that the Lake Town police station had already filed a First Information Report against organisers of the Durga Puja.
Justice Kausik Chanda said that he would not pass an interim order in the plea as that might amount to granting the relief sought in the petition. He directed the Lake Town Police to present its investigation report on October 25.
On Sunday, a Kolkata-based lawyer had also sent a legal notice to the organisers of the Durga Puja committee for allegedly “hurting religious sentiments” by using slippers and shoes at the pandal.
The notice was sent after Bharatiya Janata Party members, including leader of Opposition in West Bengal Suvendu Adhikari, demanded that the slippers should be removed from the pandal.
Prateek Chaudhary, the secretary of the organising committee, however, said the art installation had been put up only as part of a larger theme to shed light on the farmers’ movement against the agriculture laws.
The organisers said that their theme included references to peasant movements of the past as well as the recent violence in Lakhimpur Kheri district of Uttar Pradesh.