| Artistes display their skill during the Ram Navami procession near Albert Ekka Chowk. Picture by Manik Bose
The past fortnight was a nightmare for the businessmen of the capital. They had a gruelling time striking “fair” deals with members of different akharas and mandlis involved in Ram Navami celebrations.
The demand for chanda starts with “youngsters” making a round of shops in their vicinity in the evening — peak business hours — with drums. The immediate —shopkeepers pay a “price” to get rid of the “nuisance”.
Police and the administration are aware of these, but prefer to be mute spectators. The businessmen are not complaining either. For, they don’t want to trouble later.
“There is no point in antagonising the revellers. We have to survive in the business and make a compromise by paying a token amount. This extortion can only be stopped by the police,” said Annapurna Hotel’s proprietor, S.K.Ghosh.
The demand for chanda and alleged action by the police at Doranda recently had snowballed into a major issue with local residents complaining against the personnel involved to higher authorities.
This has also jolted the confidence of the police force and no one wants to invite trouble unnecessarily, said a police officer.
The business community maintained their plight is same during all religious celebrations.
Breaking the religious barrier, Muslim community in the city looked busy welcoming the Ram Navami procession on the Main Road today.
Sitting in different camps on the either side of the road, the community members distributed sherbet, water and grams among the devotees carrying Mahavir flag to Tapowan Mandir from different parts of the city.
Barring a few meat shop owners, most of the shopkeepers from the community closed their shops and came out to welcome the procession as soon as they heard beats of nagara and dhak.
Mohammed Omar Bhai, the president of Chhotanagpur Idrishia Darji Vikash Audyogikaran Sahyog Samiti, was seen welcoming the Hindu devotees. Cutting his Palamau tour short, he arrived in the city this morning only to welcome the Ram Navami procession.
Lalan Parwez, Khalifa of Dhauhar Akhara, said he would have welcomed the procession in a much better way, if the Ranchi Municipal Corporation had provided him potable water on time.
“RMC failed to supply sufficient water to prepare sherbet. If they would have provided water in sufficient quantity, we had could have distribute more sherbet,” he said.