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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Gambling scandal mars Saraswati Puja at Bardowali

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BY TC News Desk

Agartala, February 15: The festive mood of Saraswati Puja, the Hindu festival of learning and wisdom, was tarnished by a gambling racket in Bardowali area of the capital city. The racket was allegedly backed by some influential people and operated behind the Ananda Mela, a fair organized by the local councilor and her husband.

The fair, which started on February 12 and will continue till February 18, features a 40-feet high idol of Bagdevi, a form of Goddess Saraswati. The idol has attracted thousands of visitors from different parts of the city and beyond. However, many of them were unaware of the illegal gambling that was going on in the premises of Bardowali Class XII School, where the fair was held.

According to sources, the gambling party had set up shop in the school ground and offered various games of chance such as a dice game. The gambling event lasted from evening till late night and was attended by the youth of the area. Thousands of rupees were exchanged in the process, and some sources claimed that the organizers had spent huge sums to manage the upper echelons of the administration and the police.

The police, who were present on the fair ground, turned a blind eye to the gambling activity and did not intervene to stop it. Some locals alleged that the police were bribed by the gambling party and were acting as their accomplices. The locals were outraged by the blatant violation of the law and the disrespect shown to the religious sentiments of the people. They demanded swift action against the culprits and the closure of the gambling event.

The gambling racket also caused traffic congestion on the national highway that passes through the fair area. The road from Nagerjala to Badharghat was jammed with vehicles and pedestrians from noon to night every day. The commuters had to face a lot of inconvenience and frustration due to the snarls.

The organizers of the fair, councilor Shampa Chowdhury and her husband Jayanta Chowdhury, could not be reached for comment. They had vowed to worship ‘Bagdevi’ in the area since 2023 and had claimed that the fair was a grand celebration of the culture and heritage of the region. However, their involvement in the gambling scandal has raised questions about their credibility and integrity.

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