‘BJP worker’ at Rabindra Sarobar gate
About 20 youths, mostly from Lake Gardens, tried to approach a gate of Rabindra Sarobar on Friday morning to find out whether Chhath Puja would be allowed inside, despite a ban that the Supreme Court had upheld on Thursday.
One of the youths in the group, Niraj Singh, said he was a BJP worker. He was angry that a custom of several years — performing Chhath rituals at Rabindra Sarobar — was stopped.
Deepak Thakur, another person in the group who said he was not associated with any party, said they would approach the National Green Tribunal (NGT) with a submission that the rituals would not harm the water body and the surroundings if held in a restricted manner.
The men, still hoping that the puja would be allowed at the lake, got involved in pushing and shoving with another group that was shouting slogans at the Sarobar.
Police acted promptly and separated the two groups.
“We were standing near gate number 4 of the Sarobar for a long time. We requested officers to allow us in but they declined. We had no intention to violate the court’s orders, we just wanted to check whether the puja could be performed inside the Sarobar,” said Singh.
He admitted that what some devotees did last year -- enter the compound after breaking locks on gates -- was wrong.
“We were not represented well before the NGT. The Bihari community is responsible for the ban on Chhath Puja at Rabindra Sarobar. We did not hire a good lawyer,” he said.
Bir Bahadur Singh, the president of the BJP’s Rashbehari Mandal III who had said on Thursday that “people want to go to the Lake (Rabindra Sarobar) to perform rituals”, said heavy police presence forced the devotees to go elsewhere.
“The police made it clear that no one would be allowed inside the Sarobar, which is why the devotees went to other ghats,” he said.
Singh said he did not go close to the Sarobar on Friday, but was in touch with the people who went. “Those who went were all from our area,” he said.
The refrain among the worshippers who turned up near the Sarobar’s gate number 4 was that they would have to prepare for a legal battle.
“If Chhath Puja is not allowed at Rabindra Sarobar, we will ensure that the clubs and other structures along the lake do not discharge their waste into the waters of the Sarobar. We will move court and the NGT with this appeal. We should not suffer alone,” Thakur said.
A man arrested with a gun and bullets near Eco Park on Thursday night has said he wanted to kill one of his neighbours in Baranagar for raping his wife.
On seeing a police patrol, he started running. Cops gave chase and caught him near the Akanksha crossing in New Town.
The gun and bullets were found on him but he couldn’t produce an arms licence, police said.
He told cops that he had bought the gun and the bullets from a man near the park and was headed home when he was picked up.
“He said one of his neighbours had raped his wife and that he wanted to kill him. He did not lodge a police complaint as it would taint his wife’s reputation in the locality. We are verifying the claim,” an officer said.
A search is on for the seller.