The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the Calcutta High Court’s decision to ban Chhath Puja at Kolkata’s Rabindra Sarobar and Shubash Sarovar.

Defying Supreme Court, devotees protest outside Kolkata’s Rabindra Sarobar for Chhath Puja

Despite the Supreme Court’s order banning Chhath Puja at Kolkata’s Rabindra Sarobar, devotees staged protest outside it to allow them to perform the rituals for four hours.

As per a report by Bengali daily Anandabazar Patrika, the devotees claimed that the Rabindra Sarobar water bodies would not be polluted if they were allowed to conduct the puja for four hours.

The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the Calcutta High Court’s decision to not allow Chhath Puja in Kolkata’s Rabindra Sarobar and Shubash Sarovar to keep them free from pollution.

Last week, the Calcutta High Court had reiterated an order by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in 2018 banning Chath Puja in closed water bodies such as the Rabindra Sarobar and Shubhash Sarovar.

However, the devotees on Thursday failed to understand the impact of the judgement and tried to reverse it. A string of followers attempted to force their way inside. The situation escalated after they were stopped by the security officials.

Timely intervention and swift action from the police, who had already barricaded all the entries at Rabindra Sarobar’s Gate 1, 2 and 3, helped in keeping the law and order intact despite some heated confrontation between them and the worshippers.

“As far as Subhas Sarobar and Rabindra Sarobar are concerned… these water bodies will be totally out of bounds for Chhath Puja celebrations,” ruled the Calcutta High Court division bench of Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Arijit Banerjee on November 10, reported The Telegraph.

The judgement had come after environment activist Subhash Dutta had moved a petition in the High Court demanding protection for the water bodies.

Rabindra Sarobar, known as ‘lake’ to the loclas, is home to three species of turtles, 30 species of dragonflies and snakes, 60 species of butterflies and different kinds of birds.

Not only Chhath Puja, the National Green Tribunal has banned all kinds of pujas, picnics and other social events in the Sarobar premises to keep its ecology pollution-free.

The NGT’s order was grossly violated in 2018 and 2019 when scores of devotees had broken the gates of Rabindra Sarobar and performed Chhath Puja rituals there with loud music and firecrackers.

To ensure that a similar situation was not repeated, Kolkata Police has already deployed large batallions of forces for the two days of the Chhath Puja, Friday and Saturday.

About Jack K. Harris

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