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Ban on Chhath celebrations has hurt sentiments of Hindus: Manoj Tiwari

New Delh: BJP MP Manoj Tiwari on Wednesday accused Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal of indulging in appeasement of Muslims and hurting the sentiments of Hindus with his government's ban on Chhath Puja.

In a letter to Kejriwal, Tiwari also questioned the AAP government's move to seek the Centre's guidelines on celebration of Chhath, saying it should have done so before prohibiting the festival if it was "serious".

"I am sorry to say that you have been doing things to continuously hurt the sentiments of the Hindu community and you are guilty of hardline Muslim appeasement in Delhi. Through the ban on Chhath you have hurt the sentiments of the Hindus," Tiwari said in the letter.

He said Chhath is not just a festival of Purvanchalis (Bhojpuri-speaking natives from eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar) but also an inseparable part of India's social, cultural and spiritual tradition.

"As a chief minister adopting such an anti-Hindu attitude does not behove you. The dignity of the post (CM) is being maligned because of you," Tiwari said.

Celebration of Chhath in public places has been prohibited by the Delhi government in view of COVID-19.

Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai said on Wednesday that a decision will soon be taken on Chhath celebrations in the national capital after the city government hears from the Centre on its guidelines.

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Tuesday had urged the Centre to issue guidelines for the festival as soon as possible after consulting health experts.

In a letter to Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya, Sisodia had said that last year, the decision on Chhath was taken as per directions of the Government of India in view of the pandemic.

Tiwari had even taken out a Rath Yatra against the city government's decision.

The BJP MP was injured on Tuesday after being hit by a water cannon discharge while trying to scale a police barricade during a protest near Chief Minister Kejriwal's house against the ban on Chhath celebrations at public places, party leaders said.

Delhi BJP president Adesh Gupta had said during the protest that the party-ruled municipal corporations will make arrangements for Chhath celebrations.

Kejriwal had previously accused the opposition of doing "dirty politics" over the sensitive matter when asked about Tiwari's Rath Yatra.

Delhi BJP leaders have demanded that the Kejriwal government send its proposal to the Delhi Disaster Management Authority(DDMA) for lifting the ban on Chhath at riverbanks, water bodies, temples and other such public places.

Purvanchalis settled in Delhi are considered as a prominent vote bank in Delhi.

"If the Chhath ban order is not withdrawn in 48 hours, around 60 lakh Purvanchalis in Delhi will pledge to uproot the government in Delhi to save their pride," Tiwar had said earlier.

Chhath, which is celebrated after Diwali, involves worship of the Sun while standing in water. PTI

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