Who would have thought that the Saradiya Navaratri 2020 would have ended in the saddest possible manner? Who would have thought that the brain of a child would be ripped apart from his head, and thrown beside the Goddess? Who would have imagined scores of devotees to be bathed in blood?

Durga Immersion Procession is an emotion. Much like the welcome, the farewell of the Mother is grand too. Different places observe different rituals and ceremonies and Munger is no different.

Badi Durga Maa, Chhoti Durga Maa and the family of other deities

Badi Durga Maa of Sadipur, Munger is beautiful, magnificent, and is said to have immense power. Devotees come from far and near during the Navratri celebrations to catch a glimpse of her glory.

The ritual of ‘Shobha Yatra’ is carried out during Visarjan or Immersion. There are defined rituals and the yatra is supposed to follow a defined route to Visarjan. Specific hierarchy and sequence are followed for the immersion and Badi Durga Maa is the first one to be immersed followed by Chhoti Durga Maa, Badi and Chhoti Kali Maa.

The administration wanted to speed up this year’s immersion procedures and in the process the SP ordered the police forces to have the other Devi murtis overtake Badi Durga Maa. This naturally resulted in arguments as the traditional norms were being violated.

This led to violence, commotion, and lathi charge. Most of the crowd dispersed however only the few who stayed back for completing the immersion were subjected to lathicharge and firing, and a young boy lost his life and several others were critically injured!

COVID protocols

Even if the COVID protocols had been violated by the crowd, what justifies the shooting by the police? There are ways and means to control a crowd, however unruly. What made the SP resort to firing when  tear gas or water canons would have been enough to disperse the crowd?

Whatever was the logic in the police firing is beyond any comprehension! A mother lost her child who was only participating in the yearly tradition. Maa’s ‘Shobha Yatra’ turned into a massacre; traditions broken, lives lost and no hope of the guilty being ever brought to book!

Reference: Durga Puja of Munger

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