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HENB | Chennai | Oct 16, 2015:: Labels with pictures of Hindu deities will henceforth not be used to wrap fire crackers on a directive from district authorities following charges by various outfits that the discarded pictures “hurt” the sentiments of people.
The District Revenue Officer has sent a circular to Tamil Nadu Fire Cracker Manufacturers Association (TNFCMA) not to use labels with the pictures of deities for wrapping crackers, an official press release said. District Collector V Rajaraman said ABHMB’s state unit had made a request to ban use of labels with pictures of deities as it had hurt the sentiments of a section of the people, it said.
Various Hindu outfits, including Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha (ABHMB), Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS) had earlier urged the authorities to enforce the ban as these wrappers were reportedly torn into pieces and thrown on roads. People walk on them and finally these are dumped in waste bins which was an act of “sacrilege”, the group said.
Crackers with names of various Hindu deities have been in the market for more than two decades, besides pictures of several deities were used as wrappers for crackers.
G Abiruben, TNFCMA President told reporters that the cracker industry would strictly follow the instructions of the authorities and would not hurt the sentiments of any person. He maintained that the pictures with deities were being used since 1924.
The local unit of Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha took up the matter with the Virudhunagar collector on September 29, seeking a ban on the use of such pictures. According to the group, such images hurt religious sentiments and was akin to denigrating the deities.
Another organisation, the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti — an umbrella body of Hindu organisations which claims that it safeguards the interests of the Hindu community and its well-being — had been running a campaign to stop usage of such pictures on firecrackers.
“Every time a firecracker is burst, images of revered Hindu deities Lakshmi, Krishna and other deities burst in flames and get disintegrated into thousands of small pieces and lay strewn all over the roads and everywhere. This year we had an awareness campaign and later requested the administration in Sivakasi to ensure that manufacturers stop using the pictures of gods and goddesses on firecrackers they manufacture,” said Uma Ravichandran, Tamil Nadu coordinator of the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti.
“On Diwali we worship Goddess Lakshmi and it is ironical that all through Diwali Lakshmi bombs are burst, blowing the goddess’ pictures to smithereens all over,” she said.
C Muthukumaran, Virudunagar’s district revenue official under whose jurisdiction Sivakasi falls, sent out a letter to the manufacturers requesting them to take note of the objections raised by the organisations.
“We have intimated the concerns of the organisations to the manufacturers and one association. The association of small firecrackers manufacturers has responded positively to our intimation and has issued a circular to its members,” Muthukumaran told Hindustan Times.
Tamil Nadu Fireworks and Amorces Manufacturers’ Association (TNFAMA), an important manufacturers’ body, has not responded so far, he said.
The TNFAMA, however, refused to consider the intimation on stopping the usage of pictures saying the practice is being followed since the beginning of firecracker manufacturing in Sivakasi.
“We have cited a recent Supreme Court order that permits use of the pictures to the district revenue officer,” G Abiruben, president of the association, said adding “There was no order or a circular from the administration, it was just a letter telling us that some organisations had objections on the use of pictures of deities on firecrackers.”
“We have stated the current position to the DRO and are awaiting his response. Till then, the manufacturing continues,” he said.
Another manufacturer said stocks for this Diwali were manufactured long before the DRO’s letter was issued.
However, G Asokan, a manufacturer, said they have stopped using pictures of deities on firecrackers and pasted them only on the wrappers and packages adding that over 90% of the manufacturers in Sivakasi were doing this keeping in view the sentiments expressed by some organisations over the years.
__With inputs from PTI and The Hindu.