A Division Bench comprising Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice Arun Tandon on October 7 declined to relax its ban on immersion of idols in either Ganga or Yamuna. The Bench was hearing a Public Interest Litigation on pollution in the Ganga. The court had on November 6 last year ruled that from 2013, there shall be no immersion of idols in the two rivers.
The district administration had made a plea that permission be granted this year for the idols "to be dipped" in the river and then taken out to be kept in containers and then transported to places outside the city area. However, the court dismissed the suggestion, saying "introduction of such a practice may result in adversely affecting the sentiments of the followers and may create a serious law and order problem. Even otherwise, all pollutants in the idols would enter the river once these are dipped".
A Division Bench refused to relax its ban on idol immersion in Ganga & Yamuna
The court also directed the Uttar Pradesh government to ensure that there was no immersion of idols in Ganga and Yamuna from 2014 "across the state" by providing necessary infrastructure at alternative places in districts along which either of the rivers flew. Angry over the situation, the Bengali Welfare Association here has threatened to march with processions carrying "Ma Durga" idols towards the collectorate on Vijaya Dashmi if alternative arrangements were not made.
The association's secretary P K Rai said, "the local administration has indicated to us a number of ponds inside the city as well as the outskirts for carrying out the visarjan (immersion ceremony). All these water bodies are filthy and can not be used for any religious activity". Another member of the association, Namita Das, said "if the administration fails to help us, our processions on Vijaya Dashmi would be headed towards the district collectorate, where we would sing bhajans and perform worship as a token of protest".
Meanwhile, the district administration has formed a committee of officials from police, Nagar Nigam, Jal Nigam, PWD and irrigation departments which would inspect various ponds inside the city or on the outskirts today and devise a plan to ensure that adequate facilities were available for "visarjan" before Vijaya Dashmi which falls on October 13-14.