Mamata backtracks, Durga idol immersion till 10 pm on Vijaya Dashami

New Delhi: The West Bengal government, which drew flak over restrictions on immersion of Durga idols, told the Calcutta High Court that immersion will be allowed till 10 pm on September 30, though Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had earlier said that it will be permitted only till 6 pm on that day.

State Advocate General (AG) Kishore Dutta said a notification was yesterday issued which allowed the immersion of idols till 10 pm on Vijaya Dashami (September 30). The immersion will not be allowed on October 1 on account of Muharram but it will again be permitted on October 2. The court was hearing a plea which wanted that the immersion be allowed till 1.36 am on October 1 in accordance with the Hindu almanac.

On August 23, Banerjee had told reporters that immersion will not be allowed after 6 PM on September 30 and on October 1 in view of Muharram. The move had sparked a controversy with the BJP accusing her of indulging in appeasement politics.

After the AG's submission, a division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Nishita Mhatre and Justice T Chakraborty today asked whether immersion of Durga idols can be allowed after 10 pm also on Vijaya Dashami and directed the state counsel to inform it about the government's views on Monday, till when the matter was adjourned.

The petitioner submitted before the court that according to a Hindu almanac, Vijaya Dashami will continue till 1.36 am on October one, on which date Muharram is to be observed.

Petitioner's counsel Smarajit Roy Chowdhury prayed before the court that immersion of the idols in rivers and other water bodies in the state be allowed till 1.36 am in accordance with the 'Vishudha Siddhanta', one of the three almanacs by which the Durga pujas are held in the state.

The state government told the court that it has allowed immersion of idols on Vijaya Dashami at the end of the five- day Durga Puja celebrations till 10.00 pm to ensure law and order.

Immersion of idols would again be allowed from October two, the state informed the court.