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Maharashtra govt to decide on Nanded Gurudwara's Dussehra procession, says SC

Maharashtra govt to decide on Nanded Gurudwara's Dussehra procession, says SC

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Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], October 19 (ANI): Supreme Court on Monday said that the final decision will be taken by the Maharashtra Government as to whether the Nanded Gurudwara management can be given permission to conduct a small procession on Dussehra festival keeping in view the COVID-19 pandemic situation.
A three-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Justice L Nageswara Rao and also comprising Justices Hemant Gupta and Ajay Rastogi passed the interim today.
The apex court also asked the Nanded Gurudwara management to submit a request with the Maharashtra government and it said if it is not satisfied with the state government, it can approach the Bombay High Court.
The Supreme Court was hearing a plea filed by Nanded Sikh Gurudwara Sachkhand, Shri Hazur Abchalnagar Sahib Board, seeking permission to conduct 'Dusshera, Takht Isnan, Deepmala and Gurta Gaddi' event procession as per three centuries-old custom maintained by the gurudwara with certain conditions.
The Maharashtra Government had earlier told the apex court that allowing the Nanded Gurudwara to hold the Dusshera procession as per custom will not be a "practically feasible option" amid COVID-19 and that the state has taken a conscious decision of not allowing religious functions to check the spread of the virus.
The petitioner told the top court that they have reduced the procession route to 1.5 kilometres. "We will hold it in the evening so that few people come," the petitioner added.
The apex court observed that the state is saying there is a health risk, especially with the number of people affected in Nanded. You are saying there will only be 40 to 50 people. In Puri also there was a restriction but many people turned up. Processions are not being allowed now.
"You can have only 40 or 50 people but what about the people on the road? What if people come?" the apex court observed.
Gurudwara committee said, "We are asking people in the community to not come. We will have a truck on which the Granth Sahib will be kept. We will telecast the proceedings".
Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta, for Centre, said that it wants to suggest one thing. The procession is 1.5 km, they could consider holding it between 7-9 am in the morning so that only the persons participating in the ritual are there and passersby are not involved.
The apex court also said that if you see the Maharashtra affidavit they have said so many festivals which involved processions have been banned. They have said when Ganesh Chaturthi etc were banned and if we allow this, other festivals will also ask for permission.
The SG told the apex court that this is not a festival celebrated across Maharashtra. It's restricted only to Nanded, and it is restricted to a community with small numbers. (ANI)

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