Shastra puja does not need permission if held in house or at the place of worship: Cal HC

File picture of shastra puja by Durga Vahini at Vishwa Hindu Parishad office in Indore in 2014.(HT Photo)

Shastra puja (weapons worship) does not need any permission, whether from the court, or from administration, if held at a place of worship, Calcutta high court ruled on Friday.

The order came in response to a petition filed by Joydeb Talodhi, a priest associated with VHP.

The court order is likely to provide a fillip to Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) that planned to organise shastra puja widely in Bengal. Their plans followed Ram Navami celebrations and processions with sharp weapons in different parts of Kolkata and Bengal on April 5 this year.

File picture of Ram Navami celebrations in Bengal. (HT Photo)

“The state has submitted that within a premise no permission is required for astra puja,” said Phiroze Edulji, the advocate for Talodhi.

“This is a victory for the Hindus. We have no plan to organise processions with weapons, but worshipping weapons is integral part of Durga puja and the court has clarified that worship of weapon at places of worship does not require permission from anyone,” said Sachindranath Singha, VHP’s in-charge for West Bengal, Odisha, Sikkim and the Andamans.

While the ruling does not pave the way for processions with weapons, as was seen on the streets in different parts of Bengal during Ram Navami and Hanuman Jayanti, the saffron camp wants to highlight it to establish the point that weapons to integral to Hindu practices and rituals.

“Devi Durga has weapons in all her hands. Worshipping weapons in front of the idol cannot be illegal. However, the display of weapons in public places, or participating in procession with weapons, is illegal. We believe the Hindus will not break the law. But who will remind the Muslims of these restrictions when they take out processions with swords on Muharram?” BJP state president Dilip Ghosh told HT.

Talodhi approached the court against the backdrop of chief minister Mamata Banerjee vowing to prevent procession with weapons that was seen on Ram Navami in the state.

The case was filed on September 18.

The petition did not appeal for permission to hold processions with weapons but only sought orders on holding the pujas indoors.