Bhubaneswar: In view of forceful collection of donation during the festive season, Police have decided to act tough against the puja committees, clubs and other cultural organisations that resort to such practice during religious festivals.
DGP KB Singh has issued a circular to Inspector Generals, SPs and all police stations to register extortion cases against those who collect donations forcefully.
"Instructions have been given to file extortion case against the person or any group resorting to forceful collection of money. Patrolling will also be intensified accordingly," Singh told OTV over phone.
Even the Bhubaneswar-Cuttack Commissionerate Police has decided to adopt a zero tolerance policy towards forceful puja donation collection.
"We can assure that we will not tolerate such practice. We request the public to bring such matter to our notice and we will take strict possible action," Police Commissioner YB Khurania said.
The instruction came on the day when private bus owners who mostly face harassment of puja organisers during the festive season, convened an emergency meeting over the issue. They threatened to halt bus services during puja if the practice is not checked.
"We will be forced to stop bus services on the routes where exorbitant amount is being collected forcefully as donations for puja," said Barada Prasanna Acharya, treasurer of All Odisha Private Bus Owners’ Association.
Reacting to police directive, a puja organiser from Cuttack said, “'Chanda' is an illegal term. We never resort to such activities. We undertake our programmes with donations made by various organisations, individuals and business establishments voluntarily. Only some anti-socials extort money in the name puja and police can take any action against them."
Recently, some local youths misbehaved with an official of WESCO in Burla of Sambalpur and smeared him with ink for resisting forceful collection of money for Ganesh Puja.
Similarly, a video of a consumer being misbehaved by the electricity officials in Bhubaneswar for not paying puja donation went viral on social media recently.