Thursday, January 18, 2018
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Is there no censorship in the police department? Does no responsible officer  go through the text of the material that is to appear in a booklet to be distributed even in the department? When it is seen in a public place it often catches the eye of the commoners.. That is where the danger lies—if the matter contains something objectionable.

That is why no one, who is acquainted with the explosive sensitivity of the devout, would dare to even think of writing such stuff to say nothing of publishing it and then making it public.  But this is what happened. The police are said to have published  a booklet titled: ‘Magh Mela police arrangements-2024’ and distributed the copies  among police officers to acquaint them with the Mela arrangements. It was essentially a guidebook for police  containing tips on how to maintain law and order in the mela area. But on Page 52 of the booklet the words ‘dharmik pakhand(religious hypocrisy)’ have been used to describe the Gaudaan ceremony  that is observed during the month.
Undoubtedly writing such words for a ceremony that is highly esteemed in the eyes of the worshippers was height of irresponsibility on the part of the author. Don’t they know, as police men, that such words can create trouble in  a big way? If  the cops, after reading the material, start their work on the assumption that the ceremony is a pakhand, won’t they create in their own mind a hostile attitude towards the Mela rituals? It is not for the police to make such comments. Didn’t the author realize that the whole mela is based on the belief that a bath in the Ganga would ensure washing away of all sins and receiving the blessings of Mother Ganga? If  Godaan is a pakhand, non-believers will say that even the so-called holy bath is a ‘pakhand’ . This can lead to tension and if people’s anger assumes fiery dimensions, anything could happen.
Some of the aggrieved readers have sent a memorandum to the Chief Minister through the local CO. After talking to the delegation, the Mela CO Nita Dwivedi assured the visitors that such a thing will not be repeated and that the police have respect for all religions. The devout will say that if that were so, how could the booklet come out? It would be in the fitness of things to demand that  those who wrote that piece and those who passed it, published it should not go unpunished. Printed word carries weight. It is not restricted to the lip-movement of  some  TV anchor.
Can we hope for some action?

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