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Ravik Bhattacharya, Kolkata: They perform the duty of contributing the first lump of earth that goes into
making of a Durga idol, but don’t have the right to organise their own puja.
This year sex workers of the city discontinued their own puja, claiming non-cooperation of the police and KMC.
In a city that will organise as many as 1,458 community pujas, this was the only one by the sex workers.
Worse, many feel it does not speak well of a city that is trying to be more inclusive and is taking a number of steps to bring the third gender into the mainstream.
Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee (DMSC), the largest body of sex workers in the state told HT that they have decided not to hold the pujas after harassment for the past three years. The puja was held in Sonagachi since 2013 and every time the sex workers had to move court to obtain permission after the police and Kolkata Municipal officials turned down their application.“We feel helpless. This year we decided to discontinue the pujas. We cannot run from pillar to post every year including the courts simply to obtain a permission that is given almost to everybody. It is better we do not celebrate,” Bharati Dey, secretary of DMSC told HT.
“This time they have not applied. So I cannot comment on anything,” was all that Subhankar Sinha Roy, deputy commissioner of police (North) would comment.
“They started their puja in 2013. Kolkata police has stopped giving permission for any new puja. They went to court and obtained permission. We requested them not to hold the puja on the congested street,” said a senior Kolkata police officer in Lalbazar.
However, the officer refused to comment on how dozens of pujas are held completely blocking busy roads of the city every year.