Durga Puja Pandals In West Bengal Declared As No-Entry Zones By High Court

Durga Puja Pandals In West Bengal Declared As No-Entry Zones By High CourtDurga Puja at a Pandal (Bachchan Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

The Calcutta High Court on Monday (20 October) declared that the state government should treat all Durga Puja pandals as “no-entry zones”. The pandals will be segregated into two categories: the big and the small ones. The police will be authorised to make this separation.

Barring 25-30 individuals finalised by the organisers, the rest of the people wouldn’t be allowed entry into 10 meters of a big pandal. On the other hand, the “no-entry zone” will be five meters for small pandals whereas no more than 15 people will be allowed to knock about beyond that distance.

Kishore Dutta is the Advocate-General of West Bengal. He stated to the bench comprising of Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Ajit Banerjee that this strategy wouldn’t turn out to be effective as crowds will anyway continue to gather beyond the given distance.

“If pandals are made no-entry zones and a certain distance (to the pandals) is made part of those zones, people will know that there will not be any access within or close to pandals and the affinity to take to the streets may be less,” the bench replied.

Though Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has requested the citizens to experience the ‘pujas’ virtually this year, the concerned officials organizing the pandals believe that controlling the crowd would be challenging as people will continue to assemble outside despite repeated appeals.