Kolkata: Devotees protest outside Rabindra Sarobar

In 2018 and 2019, hundreds of devotees had broken the gates of Rabindra Sarobar and performed Chhath Puja rituals there, with loud music being played and firecrackers burst.

DESPITE A Supreme Court order banning Chhath Puja rituals at Rabindra Sarobar and Subhas Sarobar, some devotees and activists olstaged a protest outside Rabindra Sarobar for nearly four hours on Friday, demanding that they be allowed to perform the rituals at the water bodies. However, the deployment of huge contingent of policemen and setting up of barricades prevented the situation from turning violent like in previous years.

In 2018 and 2019, hundreds of devotees had broken the gates of Rabindra Sarobar and performed Chhath Puja rituals there, with loud music being played and firecrackers burst.

In a bid to ensure that a similar situation was not repeated, the Kolkata Police since Thursday night deployed large batallions of forces for the two days of the Chhath Puja — Friday and Saturday. Several barricades were put up outside several gates of both the lakes in the city to prevent devotees from entering the premises.

However, some 50 people had turned up at gate number three at Rabindra Sarobar in the morning and argued with policemen asking them to allow them inside.

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

The situation outside Subhas Sarovar in the northern parts of the city was rather peaceful compared the the atmosphere outside Rabindra Sarobar in South Kolkata.

“So far the situation has been normal. There has been no violation of the court order,” said a policeman deployed outside Rabindra Sarobar.

The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the Calcutta High Court’s decision not to allow Chhath Puja in Kolkata’s Rabindra Sarobar and Shubash Sarobar to keep them free from pollution and stop the spread of covid 19 infection.

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 Sarobar.

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