durga puja

Japan: Protesters call for protection of Hindus in Bangladesh

Tokyo [Japan]: Following the series of incidents of communal violence against minorities in Bangladesh, a protest was held in Japan’s capital Tokyo on Sunday, local media reported.
People from India and Bangladesh staged a protest in Tokyo and called for the safety of the Hindu minority in Bangladesh, Kyodo News reported. According to the Japanese publication, around 60 demonstrators gathered near the Bangladeshi Embassy, holding placards with messages including “Stop Communal Attack” and “Justice for Bangladesh Minority” and chanting slogans such as “We want justice.”
In mid-October, communal riots broke out in Bangladesh after a mob vandalised a Hindu temple in Cumilla.
After the incident, more Hindu temples and houses were vandalised, leaving scores of people injured and some dead in the chaos that went on for around a week, Kyodo News reported.
“Similar protests took place in around 150 countries including India, Bangladesh and the United States,” Kyodo News quoted Tokyo-based Rohan Agrawal, an Indian national, as saying, who was at the scene of the demonstration staged by organisations including the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.
“We demand equal rights and an end to such attacks against all the religious minorities in Bangladesh,” said Nandy Khokan Kumar, one of the protesters, who is originally from Bangladesh but currently resides in Japan and runs a trade firm in Tokyo.
Anil Sarkar, a Bangladeshi Hindu, said, “I am scared about my family back home.”

Kolkata: ISKCON puts up posters against Bangladesh communal violence

Kolkata (West Bengal) [India]: Members of ISKCON put up posters in Kolkata condemning the recent incidents of violence against the minority Hindu community in Bangladesh.
An ISKCON temple in Noakhali city in Bangladesh was vandalised and a devotee was killed by a mob on October 16. ISKCON has organised a worldwide protest at about 700 ISKCON temples across 150 nations tomorrow.

“We approached the UN (United Nations), they condemned Bangladesh violence. Leaders across the world are raising voices. There has been no report of death there in the last three days. On October 23 we have organised a worldwide protest. Here also we have organised protest and prayer meet,” ISKCON Kolkata Vice President Radharamn Das said.

In an official statement issued, the worldwide International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) said multiple temples, homes, shops and individuals were attacked across several districts of the country and several innocent members of the Hindu minority were killed.
The ISKCON called upon Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina government to take swift action to bring an end to the violence and demanded that perpetrators of the attacks should be brought to justice.
A series of attacks on minority religious places in Bangladesh took place.
“The worldwide International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) community is shocked and saddened by the recent series of violent events directed against the Hindu minority in Bangladesh, including our own ISKCON temples and members,” read the statement.

Protests in Bangladesh against communal violence

Dhaka [Bangladesh]: Hindu community leaders, students, teachers, and activists are set to demonstrate and observe a token hunger strike in Dhaka and other parts of Bangladesh on Saturday to press home their demand for ensuring the safety and security of religious minorities in the country, local media reported.
Demanding a quick trial of perpetrators who attacked Hindu temples, Durga Puja venues, and homes in several districts recently, various groups including Bangladesh Hindu-Bouddha-Christian Oikya Parishad and Bangladesh Puja Udjapon Parishad (BPUP) have announced their participation in the protests, reported Dhaka Tribune.
The BPUP alleged that the administration had failed to act on attacks on Hindus in the country, that were sparked by false allegations of the Holy Quran being desecrated in Comilla.
Nirmal Kumar Chatterjee, BPUP General Secretary, said that at the night of the incident, only one guard was present at the temporary Puja venue in Comilla. The power supply to the mandapa area was cut off for a period between 3 am and 4 am that night, according to Dhaka Tribune.
“The question of what caused the power outage remains unresolved. Is the incident being investigated?” the BPUP General Secretary asked.
As per the newspaper, so far, a total of 102 cases have been filed accusing 20,619 people in connection with the recent violence against the Hindu community. Of the accused, police have arrested 583 people and drives are underway to arrest the rest, according to the police’s official data.
On late Thursday, police in Chittagong arrested 10 people, including nine members of former Ducsu VP Nurul Haque Nur-led Bangladesh Students’ Rights Council, over their alleged involvement in the recent attack on the Durga Puja pavilion at the JM Sen Hall in the city.

Bangladesh violence: Death toll rises to 5 after another man succumb to injuries

Dhaka [Bangladesh]: Another person in Bangladesh lost his life on Tuesday after reporting injuries in the clash between police and attackers at the Lakshmi Narayan Akhra temple in Chandpur’s Hajiganj Upazila.
The total number of deaths from the incident now stands at five, confirmed Md Harunur Rashid, officer-in-charge of Hajiganj Police Station was quoted as saying by Dhaka Tribune. The deceased was transferred to Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) from Comilla Medical Hospital for better treatment.
Earlier reports have suggested that at least three people were killed and 60 were reported injured including journalists, police and common people, in the communal violence during Durga Puja celebrations in Chandpur’s Hajiganj upazila.
The developments came after communal violence that broke out in several places in Bangladesh after news broke on social media about the alleged desecration of the Holy Quran at a Durga Puja venue on the bank of Nanuar Dighi.
Several puja venues were vandalized in the area of Chandpur, Chittagong, Gazipur, Bandarban, Chapainawabganj, and Moulvibazar, reported Dhaka Tribune.
Meanwhile, tensions have been simmering in Bangladesh as unabated targeted attacks are being carried out against Hindus in the country, attacks that started in Cumilla during Durga Puja have spread to other parts and there are reports of violence, arson and killing from various parts of the country.
At least 71 cases have been filed in different parts of the country in connection with the attacks on Hindus and around 450 were arrested for spreading rumours on social media.

Attacks on Durga Puja pavilions ‘pre-planned’, says Bangladesh Home Minister

Dhaka [Bangladesh]: Minister of Home Affairs of Bangladesh Asaduzzaman Khan on Sunday termed the attacks on Durga Puja pavilions as ‘pre-planned’ and said these attacks were aimed at destroying the communal harmony in Bangladesh.
This came after multiple cases have been filed against hundreds of named and unnamed people for the attacks in Comilla on Wednesday, Dhaka Tribune reported. The alleged defamation of the Holy Quran and subsequent attacks on the Hindus in Comilla were premeditated and aimed at destroying the communal harmony in Bangladesh, the Home Minister said.
“It appears to us that it was a motivated act instigated by a vested group,” he added.
When he was asked about the reason behind the Comilla incident, the minister said, “We’ll make it public once we get all the evidence and those who were involved in it will be given exemplary punishment.”
“Not only in Comilla, but attempts were also made to destabilize the country previously through communal violence in Ramu and Nasirnagar,” Khan was quoted as saying by Dhaka Tribune.
“No incident has been reported since Saturday night. Our security forces are working patiently based on intelligence information. Those who are trying to destroy communal peace will not succeed,” Khan added.
The Home Minister’s remarks came after Wednesday’s communal violence that broke out in several places in Bangladesh after news broke on social media about the alleged desecration of the Holy Quran at a Durga Puja venue on the bank of Nanuar Dighi.
Several puja venues were vandalized in the area of Chandpur, Chittagong, Gazipur, Bandarban, Chapainawabganj, and Moulvibazar. The clashes resulted in several casualties, reported Dhaka Tribune.
On Friday, one man named Jatan Kumar Saha was also killed and 17 others were injured in an attack in Begumganj Upazila of the country’s Noakhali district during Durga puja celebrations on Vijaya Dashami, Dhaka Tribune reported.

Bangladesh : 3 killed, 60 injured in communal violence during Durga Puja celebrations

At least three people were killed and 60 injured including journalists, police and common people, in the communal violence during Durga Puja celebrations in Chandpur’s Hajiganj upazila.

Dhaka [Bangladesh], October 14 : The incident occurred on Wednesday when the Hindu devotees were celebrating Durga Puja, the greatest religious festival of the Hindu community in Bangladesh, reported Dhaka Tribune. Earlier in Cumilla, at least 50 people were injured as a group of religious extremists clashed with law enforcers in Nanua Dighirpar area over reports of “demeaning the Holy Quran” at a Puja Mandap, reported Daily Star.
The religious extremists started rushing to the Mandap area around 9 am after a video went viral on social media. Members of law enforcement agencies arrived within a very short time at the mandap where Hindu devotees were celebrating Durga Puja, said police.
To quell the situation, the deputy commissioner and superintendent of police in the district held a meeting with the local Hindu community and others around 10 am, reported the Daily Star.
By then, several groups under banners of different Muslim religious organisations gathered in Nanua Dighirpar. As the meeting was ongoing, the mob attacked the mandap around 10:30 am, said locals and police, reported Daily Star.
Police and administration sources confirmed three incidents of attack in Banshkhali’s Chambal area, Kali Mandir municipality and Karnaphuli upazila.
In Kurigram’s Ulipur upazila, several temples were vandalised and one was even set on fire.
Authorities imposed Section 144 in Hajiganj following the violence and deployed eight platoons of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) to restore law and order situation.
The administration in Chattogram deployed eight BGB platoons in six upazilas of the district last night, after several temples of the Hindu community were reportedly attacked in Banshkhali and Karnaphuli upazilas, reported Daily Star.
Sources at the local administration said two platoons of BGB troops have been deployed in Hathazari and Banshkhali upazilas each, one each in Patiya, Sitakunda, Fatikchhari and Chandanish upazilas of the district.
Meanwhile, Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader has warned that those involved in the Cumilla incident will be brought to justice and no offender will be spared.
“It’s an act of an evil communal force, and those who attack Hindu temples won’t be spared either, even if they belong to any party,” Obaidul Quader said while addressing the Mahastami (8th day) of Durga Puja at KIB premises in the capital on Wednesday evening.
He said a united resistance has to be built against those who want to destroy the communal harmony in the country before the national election, reported Dhaka Tribune.

Koel Mallick: Don’t Waste Time Sleeping During Durga Puja

Koel Mallick is all excited and super happy. Her puja release ‘Boni’ has received appreciation from both critics and audience. She’s also busy with her Mallick Bari’s puja which is synonymous with Kolkata’s bonedi barir Durga Puja. However, the puja has been a private affair since last year due to the pandemic.

“The elderly, youngest members of the family and our well-known visitors along with friends from the media, for everyone safety has to be the top priority. I am sure with Maa Durga’s blessings everything will return to normalcy by next year. This isn’t the Durga Puja we want, but life cannot be a bed of roses. We will have to keep our faith in Maa Durga,” shares Koel who has been in touch with her fans and followers through her Instagram handle.

It’s no surprise that Koel is extra cautious during puja as her family including her parents, her husband and she had recovered from coronavirus last year. Also, little Kabir, Koel and Nispal’ son needs extra protection.

Sharing her favourite Durga Puja memories, the actress says the puja adda was the best thing during this time. Since Mallick Bari’s puja has immense popularity the all-night-long chitchats with friends, cousins are etched in her heart. The anjali, sandhya arati – everything used to be all about celebration. Sleeping meant just time waste. These 4 – 5 days we couldn’t sleep. So don’t waste time sleeping. These moments are special. But stay safe. If you go outside wear mask, carry sanitizer and maintain social distancing.

Talking about her special Durga Puja experience with son Kabir, Koel says he is always giggling and a quiet child by nature but Kabir is enjoying everything.

Delhi Pollution Control Committee prohibits idol immersion at public places

New Delhi [India] : Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) on Wednesday issued an order prohibiting people from immersing idols after Durga Puja at public places in order to curb water pollution.
As per the order, idol immersion at public places can attract a fine of Rs 50,000. The immersion has been banned at public places including the Yamuna River or any other water body, ponds or ghats.
The Delhi pollution body directed the general public, Residents’ Welfare Associations (RWAs), and Pooja Samitis that the idol immersion ritual may be performed within the home premises in a bucket or a container.
It further stated that the worship material like flowers, decorating material (made of paper), etc. should be removed before immersion of idols and may be collected separately for disposal manner or in an environmental safe handing over to the door to door waste collection vehicle.
The Committee also directed municipal authorities and Delhi Police to ensure strict checks on the entry of vehicles or goods carriers entering into the national capital carrying prohibited idols as its cargo.
National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) in 2019 had prohibited idol immersion in Ganga and its tributaries and directed violators to pay Rs 50,000 as environmental compensation which would be collected by the concerned District Magistrate and deposited with Delhi Pollution Control Committee.

Kolkata: Durga puja pandal as English castle

Kolkata (West Bengal) [India]: A Durga puja pandal in Kolkata’s Salt Lake has been designed on the theme of an old English castle.

However, the idol of Goddess Durga is decorated traditionally at the FD Block Durga Puja pandal.

Devotees who visited Pandal to offer their prayer on ‘Durga Ashtami’ said they are following all the COVID-19 norms and enjoying the festivals to the fullest.

Speaking to ANI, Sahil Gupta, a devotee said, “We have been taken all the precursory measures like mask, sanitiser and maintaining the social distancing. We are enjoying the festivals with full zest and zeal.”

Another devotee, Sanjuka Mondal also said, “As the Durga Puja festival comes once in a year, Bengalese can’t just let it go without celebration. We are following all the COVID-19 norms and enjoying the festivals.”

The festival season has commenced with Navratri and Durga Puja being celebrated during the same time. Following that Dussehra will fall on October 15 and Diwali on November 4. (ANI)

Puri-based miniature artist makes Goddess Durga idol with ice-cream sticks

Puri (Odisha) [India]: On the occasion of Navaratri, a Puri-based miniature artist has made a unique idol of Goddess Durga, using 275 ice cream sticks.

“It took me six days to complete this artwork,” artist Biswajeet Nayak told ANI on Tuesday.

“I have built the miniature art of “Durga Maa face”. Using a total of 275 ice cream sticks. This time I have also designed a new type of mandala art on the statue. We will celebrate the “Durga Puja” by complying with the COVID-19 guidelines,” said Nayak.

According to the guidelines issued by the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) in September regarding the observance of Durga Puja amid COVID-19, the size of the idol shall be less than four feet.

The guidelines limited the number of participants to seven people.

BMC mandated that no public congregation would be allowed during the Durga puja and that the Puja would be conducted in indoor-like conditions.

There shall be no immersion procession. The idols would be immersed in artificial ponds created by the local administration for the purpose.

The guidelines further mandated that there shall be no public view or darshan by public/devotees at Puja Pandals or mandap.

Puja organisers will have to obtain permission from the District Magistrate. For the area under the commissioner of police of Cuttack and Bhubaneshwar, the permission will be authorised by the Commissioner of Police. (ANI)

Flight movements affected due to lighting system at Durga Puja pandal in West Bengal’s South Dumdum

Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], October 12 : Flight movements have been affected due to the lighting system at Sreebhumi Durga Puja Pandal in West Bengal’s South Dumdum, informed airport sources on Tuesday.
According to sources, pilots from three different flights lodged complaints with Kolkata ATC in this regard on Monday. ATC has already informed Kolkata Airport Authority, they added.
Further details on the matter are awaited.

Pandal designed on theme of Rajshahi Durga Puja in West Bengal

South 24 Paraganas (West Bengal) : The biggest celebration of the most auspicious occasion has begun in West Bengal “DURGA PUJA”. Eye-catching huge and beautifully decorated pandals with mesmerizing sculpture of Goddess Durga can be seen during puja. Behala’s Barisha Sarbojanin Durgotsab Committee has designed a Durga puja pandal on the theme of Rajshahi’s (now in Bangladesh) Durga puja.
“We’re working on India’s oldest Durga puja theme that happened 415 years ago in Rajshahi which is now in Bangladesh. We’re doing this on the basis of research,” says Tanmoy Chatterjee, member of Barisha Sarbojanin Durgotsab Committee.

In the year 1606, in Rajshahi (currently this place is in Bangladesh), King Kansa Narayan organized Durga Puja.
The idol displayed by the Behala’s Barisha Sarbojanin Durgotsab Committee has been crafted by renowned artist Subrata Gangopadhyay.

Puja Banerjee: ‘I Pray For The World To Live In Peace With Ma Durga’s Homecoming’

Decking up as Ma Durga for a special photo shoot for CT made her feel a “divine shakti from within”. In an interview, actress Puja Banerjee – who recently came to Kolkata to shoot for an ad film – spoke about her Durga Puja memories, the significance of Ma Durga in her life, her son and a lot more. Excerpts:

How does it feel to be in Kolkata during the festive season?
This time of the year is great in Kolkata. The entire city is high on the festive spirit, everyone looks so happy and all the places look beautiful. People are shopping, there are queues outside restaurants, the artisans are busy giving finishing touches to the pandals, every corner is lit up, sculptors at Kumartuli are burning the midnight oil to ensure timely delivery of idols – there is a festive buzz all over. After suffering from the pandemic for one and a half years, seeing all this around gives me hope that things will go back to normal with Ma’s homecoming.

Will you be spending Puja in Kolkata?
Unfortunately, I won’t. Although I would have loved to since this will be my first Durga Puja as a mother. But I need to be in Mumbai on Saturday for my son Krishiv’s (Verma) first birthday celebration. On Ashtami, we will be having his mundan too. Krishiv is having a gala time seeing the pandals and lights put up all over the city. He is too young to understand what Durga Puja is all about, but I plan to bring him here next year to enjoy the festival. A couple of years back, my husband Kunal was here with me in Kolkata for Puja, and he simply loved it.

Did you do any Puja shopping from here?

Of course! I bought a few saris for myself and a kurta-pyjama, dhoti for my son. I also got a few ethnic clothes for my husband for our pandal-hopping spree in Mumbai. For me, Durga Puja is incomplete without wearing new saris, spending quality time with family and friends, long addas at the pandal, eating guilt-free, pandal-hopping, having bhog, offering Asthamir anjali, sandhya aarti, dhunuchi naach and of course, sindoor khela followed by bhasan er naach.

What is that one Kolkata specialty that you can’t do without when you are here?
Biryani and more biryani! I just love the Kolkata biryani with aloo. Another weakness of mine is phuchka. I still remember during Durga Puja, we used to have unlimited phuchkas from a dadu who sat just outside the Babubagan Puja pandal.

Is there anything specific you will be praying for this Durga Puja?
I pray for the world to heal and live in peace with Ma Durga’s homecoming. I always wanted to be a mother and she has gifted me with a beautiful son, who is my world now. I don’t want anything apart from his well-being and good health.

Tell us more about your fond Durga Puja memories.
During my childhood days, we would visit several pandals wearing brand new clothes and shoes. Sometimes they would cause shoe bites too ( laughs). Right before Puja, all my friends would have a sort of competition to determine who got the maximum number of new clothes, but I was never a part of that. I used to be content with whatever I got. But I loved the smell of new clothes. On Ashtami, Ma used to help me wear the best sari while offering anjali. All my friends would discuss and compare the number of idols each one saw. Those were fun-filled days. We used to fight over where the best pandal was – south or north Kolkata. I never used to miss the Babubagan Puja and the pandals in Sealdah, especially Lebutola Puja. Other than that, I used to attend our parar Puja (Banerjee para in Dhakuria) with my parents and take part in the evening cultural events. Ice cream, phuchka and cotton candies were absolutely mandatory during pandal-hopping.

What significance does Ma Durga hold in your life?
It signifies the epitome of strength, wisdom and power. It also symbolises the triumph of good over evil. Ma Durga protects her devotees from evil forces and safeguards them. I have been staying alone from the age of 18 due to work commitments and it is Ma Durga from whom I derive the inner strength to face the world. Even Govinda ji once told me that whenever there are challenges, I should seek Ma Durga’s help and blessings. It has always worked for me.

Are you currently working in any Bengali films?
Well, talks are on here but I haven’t signed anything yet. I am doing more projects on OTT now – both in Hindi and Bengali. That demands less days of shooting, so I get to spend more time with my son. Krishiv is my priority now.

People can participate in Pushpanjali, Sindoor Khela

The Calcutta High Court on Thursday allowed people to participate in Pushpanjali and Sindoor Khela amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Kolkata (Uttar Pradesh) [India], October 7 : The High Court restricted 45 to 60 people for larger pandals and 10 to 15 for the smallest pandals and said that they should be fully vaccinated. On Vijay Dashmi, the last day of Durga Puja, married Bengali Hindu women apply sindoor on the forehead and feet of the goddess and offer sweets to her followed by applying sindoor on each other’s faces.
The fervor and festivity surrounding Durga Pooja and Navratri started with Mahalaya on Wednesday. Idols of Goddess Durga are transported to various pandals from today, with the onset of the last round of preparation for the grand festival.

Kolkata: Idol makers of Kumartuli hopeful for better business this Durga Puja

Kolkata (West Bengal) [India]: Amid the cloud of uncertainty due to the COVID pandemic, the idol makers of Kumartuli in Kolkata are hopeful of doing better business in Durga Puja this season compared to the last year.
Speaking to ANI, artisan Mintu Pal said, “The situation has improved from what it was in 2020. Due to COVID, we suffered huge losses last year. Now we hope to recover that money. Even just a month ago the condition was very bad. At that time we were not receiving orders. It is after Rath Yatra that we are getting orders.” Pal said that due to receiving orders late, the idol makers are working very fast.
“This time we have started work accordingly as the order arrived. We have very little time in hand. We have to complete the work within one month. Just 40-45 days left for the Puja,” he stated.

Pal said initially they were worried over whether the Durga Puja will be held or not. He said that many organisers settled for smaller idols of 6-7 feet height instead of the average 12-13 feet due to the lack of funds and sponsorships.
“It is also being said that the third wave of COVID is likely to come in September-October. For this reason, people are a little worried. Last year, our income reduced by 40 per cent. This year also we are expecting losses because people keep requesting to reduce the size of idols, but they do not understand that the materials and effort required in making them remain the same,” he explained.
Pal said that he makes 40-45 idols every year but this year the orders are a little less. Pal also receives orders from abroad.

“The idols that were to go abroad have been sent because only a few days are left for the puja. I have sent the Durga idols to New Jersey and other places in the USA, Berlin and Singapore. In 2019, eight idols were sent abroad from my workshop and about 100 idols from Kumartuli. This year only about 30 to 35 idols have been sent abroad,” he said.
Kumartuli is a locality of the artisan community in Kolkata that supplies idols of gods and goddesses to various parts of the country and abroad. The artists earn the most during the Durga Puja, the biggest festival in West Bengal.

Artists are busy finishing idols of Goddess Durga at the Kumartuli workshop with splashes of hope.

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