12:40 GMT30 November 2020
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    Durga Puja was celebrated across the Indian subcontinent to revere and pay homage to Goddess Durga – the goddess of power. This year it was celebrated from 22-26 October. Decorated idols of Goddess Durga are installed and worshipped in specially erected pavilions and at the end of the festival, the idols are immersed in water.

    In India's poorest state Bihar, which is due to have elections soon, one person was killed and dozens more, mostly policemen, were injured on Monday night when an idol immersion procession of the Hindu Goddess Durga was disrupted by the authorities. 

    The incident occurred in Munger district; police had arrived to disband the unauthorised gathering and were pelted with rocks, prompting them to retaliate.

    The procession was being carried out at the end of days of Durga Puja festivities.  

    Traditionally, the procession is taken out on Vijayadashami day, Monday the 26th of October, but this year the local administration had sought to delay the procession over coronavirus concerns.

    The organisers of the Puja, however, carried out the procession ahead of time and without official permission late Monday night, inviting police objection.  

    Locals claimed the police used force without any provocation. However, police claimed that participants of the procession had pelted them with stones.

    “The mob pelted stones and opened fire on police, which led to the death of one person and injured 27 people, including 20 policemen,” Munger’s superintendent of police Lipi Singh told media.

    ​There have been angry reactions on social media against the district police and Bihar government headed by Chief Nitish Kumar.

    ​This year, Durga Puja festivities were otherwise a low-key affair, due to the pandemic and state-imposed restrictions on public gatherings. 

    Bihar State Chief Nitish Kumar’s regional Janata Dal (United) in alliance with India's ruling party, the Bharatiya Janata Party, is contesting elections for another term in the 243-member legislative assembly.

    The first phase of the three-phased election is scheduled for Wednesday in 71 constituencies.


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