Following backlash and letter from MP Tejasvi Surya, BBMP scraps height limit for Murti and puja restrictions for Durga Puja

Following backlash and letter from MP Tejasvi Surya, BBMP scraps height limit for Murti and puja restrictions for Durga Puja

Bhartiya Janta Party MP from Bengaluru, Tejasvi Surya had lashed out at Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) on Wednesday for issuing discriminatory and illogical restrictions for the ongoing festival of Durga Puja.

At the pretext of curbing the spread of Covid-19, BBMP had announced that the height of Durga idols should not exceed 4 feet and had even imposed a ban on the use of drums for the festival among other guidelines. 

The BBMP in its guidelines also mentioned ‘sanitizing’ the idols before installation which received a strong objection from devotees. 

Taking cognizance of the matter, BJP MP from Bengaluru South Tejasvi Surya had written a letter to the Chief Commissioner of BBMP to revisit Durga pooja rules. 

BBMP withdraws restrictions

Following a hard-hitting letter by the BJP MP and public outrage, BBMP Commissioner Gaurav Gupta has withdrawn the order with immediate effect. The decision was taken after Gupta held a meeting with the various Durga puja committees in Bengaluru on Thursday.

“The restriction of 4 feet height of the Durga idol in public places has been lifted,” informed Gupta in an official release.

Further, there will be no further restrictions for ‘Pushpanjali’ and ‘Sandhi’ puja. Traditional instruments like ‘dhol’ have also been allowed to be used for prayer rituals.

‘This is a colonial relic’

BBMP’s restrictions on idol height and ban of musical instruments had sparked a controversy on social media.

Taking a strong objection to the baseless guidelines, Surya had Tweeted, “I spoke to @BBMPCOMM & asked him to revisit Durga Pooja rules which are discriminatory, arbitrary & illogical. He assured me that these rules will be reviewed forthwith & the sentiments of devotees will be given utmost importance. Let’s celebrate with all fervour!”

Surya in his letter had also called out the colonial hangover and general bias exhibited towards Hindu festivals by the bureaucracy time and again.  “The restrictions imposed through the order regarding the size of the idol appears to be taken without any logical relevance. It is beyond the understanding of any reasonable person as to how the size of the idol is related to the spread of the Covid-19 virus,” he said in his letter.

BJP MP Tejasvi Surya’s letter to BBMP. Image Source: Twitter

“It is highly regrettable that the administration imposes such harsh and arbitrary rules only during celebrations of the Hindu community and turns a blind eye towards celebrations of other faiths,” the letter said further.

Giving a call to end the colonial hangover, Surya in a follow-up Tweet said, “There is a general tendency in sections of the bureaucracy to think that it’s OK to put any and every kind of restrictions on Hindu festivals. This is a colonial relic. Post-2014, the awakened Hindu resists such attempts.”

People react to restrictions on Hindu festivals

After the Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh government, it was BBMP that received flak for imposing baseless restrictions on Hindu festivals. Several netizens took to Twitter to register their protest. 

“BBMP rules are illogical! What has Murti height got to do with Pandemic? Sanitisation of Murti before installation? Why no restrictions for Friday Prayers and Political rallies?” Tweeted Girish Bharadwaj of Vishwa Hindu Parishad. 

“Which law permits such restrictions?  Right to worship comes under freedom of religion but laws are only in books,” asked another user. 

Another user questioned, “What is the scientific significance behind having idol’s height at 4ft?”

It is also imperative to note that the process of idol-making commences a few months prior to the festival. Hence, releasing such arbitrary restrictions a few days prior to the festival only leads to huge losses for the idol makers and disposing of the idols that do not fit the guidelines. 

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