Land of Divide and Rule: West Bengal


The Calcutta High Court recently put a stay on the directives of the Government of West Bengal putting a blanket ban on the Durga Visarjan following from the day of Vijaya Dashmi in the state of Bengal.

A bench led by Acting Chief Justice Rakesh Tiwari, stated that it amounts to a clear abuse of principle right to practice one’s religion guaranteed under the Constitution.

The Mamta Banerjee led TMC government at the state seems to have again tried to add fuel to the not so existent threat of a Hindu-Muslim divide. The state has had in a recent past witnessed sharp reaction from a cleric over the red beacon, the leader was endorsed by Didi herself.

Didi, as the portrayal goes is renowned for fierce criticism of the Right wing led violence in the state against TMC workers. In the wake of the Malda riots, TMC accused BJP trying to tear the secular fabric of the state by orchestrating communal violence in the State.

The vociferous opposition of Mamta Banerjee of the current regime at the Centre seems to present a discordant relation with the functioning of Bengal as a province within the Union of India, when the state did not agree to implement the GST, while the entire nation agreed to a blanket implementation of the same.

Mamta Banerjee has also on every occasion taken a jibe at the BJP government and is taking every possible measure to bring together all the secular parties under one band for the upcoming 2019  general elections.

Amazingly the persona that she claims is based on secular values seemed to have taken an ugly turn when she ordered a blanket ban on immersion of idols in the backdrop of Moharram processions, to maintain law and order in the state.

This unique order was only innovated in the classic land of the divide and rule policy, where not even the British but subsequent governments have never avoided the opportunity of divide and rule policy.

The biased policy is not being critically assessed by the author here as one being partisan in nature towards the majority community but as being one which only amounted to stoking tensions between two communities which would have even otherwise peacefully carried out their activities.

The High Court in an ardent and strict tone struck down the order being faulty on the lines of reasoning afforded to and claimed it to be one without any sound foundation in law. The judiciary did its role by saving the society from bearing the disgrace of obstruction to faith being endorsed by a democratically elected government, which in an extreme and a rash measure sought to ruin the secular fabric of its citizenry by its rash blanket ban on idol immersion.

This event is a shameful event but is a moment of pride for the Judiciary’s responsible role in the society where the governing tend to forget the need of harmony as visualised by the majority of those being governed.

Didi has again transgressed the esteem of her office by claiming the right to declare that the state has all the power to issue permits for immersion only as when the administration deems fit, and the High Court cannot stop it from implementing anything as far as safety of the citizenry is concerned.

The bashful measure and the unethical display of flamboyance is not well suited to the stature of a leader of a state and the action may even in certain respects call for Contempt of Court.



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