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PIL filed in Calcutta HC for stay on holding community Durga Puja


KOLKATA: A PIL has been filed before the Calcutta High Court seeking that permission for holding of community Durga Puja in West Bengal not be granted for this year in order to prevent a surge in coronavirus cases following the festival.

The PIL claimed that doctors have warned that large scale participation may lead to a tsunami of COVID-19 infection in the state.

The petition prayed that the state government be prohibited from disbursing grants of Rs 50,000 each to thousands of community Durga Puja as announced by it on September 28, and direction to provide the same to the Chief Minister's State Emergency Relief Fund.

The petitioner's lawyer Sabyasachi Chatterjee said on Thursday that the petition may be listed for hearing before the appropriate bench of the high court "within a day or two in its usual course".

The petition prayed for a stay on holding of 'Sarbojonin (community) Durgostav 2020', which is a week away, publicly and not to give permission to hold the same.

The PIL also prayed for a direction to the state government to not provide any financial assistance in cash or kind to the community puja organisers this year.

The petition said that doctors and health professionals fear of 'tsunami of COVID-19 cases' after the Durga Puja festival in the state.

It claimed that after Onam celebrations, cases of COVID-19 infection skyrocketed in Kerala.

"Though Durga Puja is a much-awaited festival, one should not forget that this is the time of pandemic," the petition by Ajay Kumar De said.

It claimed that 'Ganesh Chaturthi', the biggest festival in Maharashtra, was low-key and that Dandiya and Garba have been cancelled in Gujarat and some other states in view of the pandemic situation.