Kolkata: A city Durga Puja committee, with a senior Trinamool Congress leader as its patron, has courted controversy by playing ‘Azaan’ along with Sanskrit hymns as the theme music of the festivities, drawing threat of legal action.
The organisers, however, remained unfazed, insisting it was in line with the ‘communal harmony’ theme chosen by the committee for this year’s Durga Puja.
Some of the visitors complained that Azaan, the Muslim call to prayer made from a mosque, is heard in the background along with Sanskrit hymns inside the marquee at the north Kolkata puja.
Santanu Singha, a Calcutta High Court lawyer, said he filed a complaint at Beleghata police station Friday accusing the organisers of ‘disturbing peace and tranquility’ in West Bengal by allowing ‘Azaan’ at a Durga Puja Pandal. The officer in-charge of the police station, however, said it is yet to receive a complaint.
“I was shocked to find ‘Azaan’ being played every 10-15 minutes inside the puja pandal. They (committee) are saying the theme is communal harmony. What kind of communal harmony are they preaching by hurting the sentiments of Hindus during Durga Puja,” Singha said Monday.
A video, which showed some visitors expressing dismay over ‘Azaan’ being played at the puja pandal, has gone viral.
The chief patron of the puja committee, TMC MLA Paresh Pal, said the theme of the puja is ‘Amra Ek, Eka Noi’ (We are one, not alone), and apart from ‘Azaan’, the ‘Om’ mantra is also being played as part of the theme song which says that all religions talk about the same thing, seeking God.
Hindu Jagran Manch leader Vivek Singh also threatened to drag the organisers to court.
“In the name of puja theme, can we actually play with Durga Puja, play with our religion. An FIR has been filed at Phoolbagan police station and, if needed, we will take the legal route against Paresh Pal and his associates,” Vivek Singh said.
Paresh Pal, on the other hand, said the puja pandal has motifs of temple, church and mosque to project the spirit of inclusiveness.
“The puja pandal has motifs of a temple, a church and a mosque to project the same spirit… of our inclusiveness. We have endeavoured to show that humanity is above barriers, in our decoration and theme song,” asserted Pal.
Asserting that the puja committee ‘will not be intimidated by any organisation or individual’, Pal said, “Let them file an FIR or take the legal route. We will fight it out.”
Pal added: “Doesn’t a Hindu attend an Iftar party hosted by a Muslim? Does a Muslim shy away from Vijaya Dasami celebrations? Bengal has always believed in togetherness… we celebrate festivals together. Our puja reflects that theme and those having no idea of Bengal’s Durga Puja are now spreading the message of hatred.”