Bharatiya Janata Party leader Swapan Dasgupta said on Tuesday that the Uttar Pradesh government’s order that Durga Puja celebrations should be conducted at home this year is “unfair and even absurd”.

“Like the allowances for Ram Lila, Durga Puja should be permitted with harsh but sensible restrictions,” Dasgupta tweeted. “Otherwise it is discriminatory. Bengali Hindus in UP appeal to
Adityanath to review order.” Durga Puja celebrations will begin on October 22.

Media reports on Monday had said that Adityanath had announced that in view of the coronavirus pandemic, there would be no Durga Puja events in Uttar Pradesh this year. The chief minister reportedly urged people to install Durga idols in their homes. Adityanath said no processions will be taken out, and no fairs would be organised in the state. However, Ram leelas will be held under strict Covid-19 protocols.

Meanwhile, two Bengali organisations with presence in Uttar Pradesh appealed to Adityanath to allow Durga Puja celebrations in the state while following protocols, PTI reported.

In a statement, Bengali outfit Bangla Pokkho said: “The Constitution of India guarantees every citizen to celebrate his/her own culture, tradition, and religious sentiment. In compliance with the fundamental rights that our Constitution has to offer, we demand that public celebration of Durga Puja be allowed with all Covid-19 safety protocols.” A spokesperson for the organisation said it is ready to accept a limit on the number of persons allowed to gather for the event.

Jatiya Bangla Sammelan Spokesperson Siddhabrata Das said: “Is Bengalis’ Durga Puja banned in Uttar Pradesh as we are on the way to become a Hindu Rashtra? Who will Shri Ramchandra worship during Navaratri if there is no Durga Puja?” Das said both Durga Puja and Ram leela should be treated equally.

But an unidentified official of the Uttar Pradesh government told PTI in Lucknow that no such order has been issued with regard to Durga Puja celebrations.