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How can one kill Ravan a day before: Cong as Shinde govt asks Ramleela organisers to perform ritual on Navami

Mumbai: The Eknath Shinde-led BJP-Shiv Sena-NCP government has asked the organisers of Ramleela at Azad Maidan to perform the Ravan ‘dahan’ on the evening of Navami so that the venue is available for Shiv Sena’s Dussehra rally.

Mumbai Congress President Prof. Varsha Gaikwad has shot off a letter to Shinde protesting against the move.

“The Shinde-led government is pressuring Maharashtra Ramleela Mandal and Sahitya Kala Mandal to perform Ravana Dahan a day earlier so that Azad Maidan remains available for Shinde’s Dussehra rally,” said Prof. Gaikwad, an MLA and former minister.

“They are playing with the Indian culture and people’s faith. Congress demands reversing the decision,” she said.

“These mandals have been organising Ramleela at Azad Maidan for the last 48 years. The government has put pressure on both these groups to make the ground available for the rally. The government has suggested that these mandals should either perform Ravan Vadh ritual a day early or the entire Ramleela should be shifted to some other place,” she said.

In a letter to Shinde, Prof. Gaikwad said: “This is an insult to Indian culture and a disrespect to the faith of millions of people. People expect the festival to end where it all began. Wherever Ramleela begins, the death of Ravana is expected to happen at the same place. But this government has come up with an idea that everything should be done one day prior. This does not suit those who are so proud of Indian culture.”

Shedemanded that the government should withdraw its decision and also warned that the Mumbai Congress would support any agitation if people protested.

It may be mentioned that the Shiv Sena decided to hold the rally at Azad Maidan to avoid any law and order issue in view of the fact that the Shiv Sena (UBT) led by Uddhav Thackeray would be addressing from the Shivaji Park.

(Published 20 October 2023, 15:43 IST)

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