Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has retracted from her earlier statement that no organisation will be allowed to flash arms during the Ram Navami processions across the state.
Clarifying on the issue, the Trinamool Congress chief said that ''only organisations that carry out traditional processions with arms for the last 10-12 years will be allowed.''
"I know that there are only a couple of organisations in Howrah and Asansol which traditionally hold Ram Navami processions with arms. Those who have been celebrating Ram Navami for more than a decade will be given special permission to hold processions with arms," the Chief Minister said.
"Do not allow anybody who is trying to hold such processions for the first time. We are not against organisations holding Ram Navami processions but they have to be peaceful," she said.
Banerjee asked Director General of Police Surajit Kar Purkayastha to be on alert and encourage locals, including civic volunteers, clubs and NGOs, as well as the youth to get information on anybody trying to disrupt peace during the celebrations by spreading canards or committing mischief.
"Hooliganism will not be allowed. Take strong immediate action against those trying to disrupt peace. Be it anybody, do not spare them. Do not compromise," the chief minister added.
Urging the media to cooperate with the administration by providing information about anyone trying to disturb peace during the celebrations, Banerjee said those who gave correct information about communal incidents should be awarded.
The firebrand TMC leader made these remarks at a district review meeting in Bolpur on Wednesday.
The West Bengal government had earlier issued an advisory that no one will be allowed to display arms during religious processions.
Banerjee also directed the police not to permit any organisation to hold processions displaying arms during Ram Navami on Sunday.
However, West Bengal BJP said that they will continue displaying arms at Ram Navami processions.
BJP Bengal president Dilip Ghosh said that display of arms during Ram Navami is a part of our culture.
''We are going to do what we do, it is for the state to maintain the law and order. As far as the practice of display of arms is concerned, we have been doing this ages. No one can stop us from taking out processions,'' Ghosh said.
(With PTI inputs)