An outfit of Hindu activists wrote to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday demanding a ban on slaughter of cows and beer in the state during Durga Puja next month.
Reacting to the letter, Trinamool MP from Dum Dum, Saugata Roy, said: “A ban like this has never existed in the state. It is inconceivable. This year’s Durga Puja will be like every other year. Bengal remains one of the few states where the wishes of the minority are respected. Right wing groups have no relevance in the state.”
The letter, written by Hindu Samhati, requested a ban on “slaughtering and transportation of cows and selling, mobilization of beef throughout the state” from October 19 to 22, “so that religious sentiments of Hindus does not get hurt”.
The letter, signed by the organisation’s secretary Debtanu Bhattacharya, also claimed that Hindus have “cooperated” with Muslims in the past during festivities.
“Last year, the date of Bisarjan was altered by your government as it coincided with Eid – a festival of Muslims. This year too, the traditional route of Iskcon’s Rath Yatra was altered as it coincided with Muharram — another Muslim festival. Hindus, on both occasions have cooperated with Muslims and the administration,” the letter said.
Such a ban, Hindu Samhati claimed in the letter, will ensure that there is no “miscommunication” between the two communities. “I request you to initiate necessary action towards implementation of the proposal with immediate effect to avoid the scope of miscommunication among concerned communities, which may jeopardise communal fabric of our state,” the letter claimed.
A senior Trinamool leader, who didn’t wish to be named, said: “In the entire country, the ratio of Muslims to Hindus is the maximum in West Bengal — touching almost 30 per cent. Every year, Hindus and Muslims celebrate Durga Puja as one. The festival is as much about Bengali culture as about religion. The demand for such a ban is a deliberate attempt to polarize voters ahead of elections in the state.”