EXCLUSIVE- Unfazed by stone pelting, Bengal Hindu women out on solo procession

| Updated: 06 April, 2023 8:00 pm IST

In Howrah, West Bengal, a significant number of Hindu women dressed in red and yellow saris enthusiastically participated in the Hanuman Jayanti shobha yatra. The procession saw a heavy deployment of security personnel in Gulmohar colony, where women from all over Howrah arrived to take part.

Despite the potential for violence, the women remained undeterred, stating that they had no reason to fear and that those who resorted to stone-pelting should fear the administration. “It’s the stone pelters who should be scared, why should we be scared,” said one participant.

They expressed their commitment to their culture and their determination to carry out the procession peacefully.

“We have nothing to fear. The people who resorted to stone-pelting should fear the administration. We will take out our procession peacefully. This is our culture, and we won’t compromise on it,” said one of the women.

“We will keep doing our job, our God is paramount for us,” said another lady.

“We have always observed Hanuman Jayanti with great pomp and show and there is no reason to back down this time. We will enjoy the procession like every year,” said Smita Rai, wife of Umesh Ra, who is the chief of Howrah Kamal Sangh, that organises Hanuman Jayanti Shobha Yatra.

Many people from the surrounding areas in Howrah, where Section 144 has been imposed, have turned out to participate in the Hanuman Jayanti celebrations. The New Indian spoke to a group of Hindu women dressed in red and yellow, some of whom are attending a Hanuman Jayanti shobhayatra for the first time.

The enthusiasm for the celebrations has been fueled by the perceived biased behavior of the administration, which residents claim was evident in their handling of the Ram Navami violence.

The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday directed the West Bengal government to make a request for deployment of paramilitary forces ahead of Hanuman Jayanti celebrations on Thursday.

The Shobhayatra commenced its journey from Gulmohar Colony in Howrah and culminated at Ram Sita Mandir, Salkia, covering a distance of 4 km. The procession organizers have been instructed to avoid any areas dominated by Muslims. Umesh Rai commented, “The administration believes that these clashes occur because Muslims have their iftar in the evening. Hence, we have to alter our route.”

On Wednesday, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued an advisory to all states and Union territories, urging them to ensure law and order during Hanuman Jayanti on Thursday and to monitor any potential threats to communal harmony.

Following the communal violence that erupted in six states, including West Bengal, Bihar, and Maharashtra, on and after Ram Navami on March 30, in which two people died and several were injured, the ministry’s advisory to all states and Union territories to maintain law and order during Hanuman Jayanti on Thursday was issued.


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