The VHP had no plans to take out processions with arms on the Vijaya Dashami (the last day of the Durga Puja), but intended to go ahead with its "weapon worship" programme at 300 locations in West Bengal on that day, a senior leader of the organisation said today.
This statement of Sachindranath Sinha, VHP's organising secretary and in-charge of eastern India, comes a day after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the RSS, Bajrang Dal and VHP "should not try to disturb peace" in the state during the Durga Puja and warned that they should not "play with fire".
"We never said there would be any 'astra michhil' (procession with arms). We will be conducting 'astra pujan' (weapon worship) on Vijaya Dashami. Such programmes are being held in the country for years.
"These will entirely be indoor events. We will not change our schedule and they will take place on Vijaya Dashami," Sinha told PTI over the phone from New Delhi.
He maintained that since the 'astra pujan' events would be an "indoor affair", no police permission was required for them.
Describing Banerjee's announcement of taking "strong measures" as a "Tughlaqi farman" (whimsical decree), Sinha alleged that the chief minister was trying to "appease a particular community".
"Her announcement is like a Tughlaqi farman. She is trying to appease a particular community. I do not know why is she doing this. She had (last year) imposed restrictions on the immersion of Durga idols and the Calcutta High Court had to intervene.
"But, there is no restriction when the members of a particular community come out with weapons during their religious rallies," he alleged.
Not willing to reveal the locations of the 'astra pujan' events, VHP media in-charge for West Bengal Sourish Mukherjee said they might move the high court if the administration disturbed their pre-scheduled programme.
"Astra pujan is not a new thing. It has been happening at various places in the country, including Kolkata, since ages.
"It depicts the fight of the good against the evil. We will go ahead with our programme. If the administration tries to create any disturbance or interferes, we may move the high court," he said.
West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh alleged that Banerjee was trying to "provoke the people politically".
"We are against any form of procession with weapons. All forms of 'astra michhil' must be stopped.
"The chief minister is trying to provoke the people politically. That is the why she is talking about it even when the scheduled events are many days away," he said.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)