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‘My Ali Title is Being Used as Reason for Hatred’: Petitioner on Firecracker Ban

Calcutta HC ordered a complete ban on firecrackers in WB based on Roshni Ali's PIL, which was overruled by the SC.

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The Supreme Court allowed the use of ‘green crackers’ on Monday, 1 October, setting aside the Calcutta High Court’s earlier order saying that it ‘can’t impose a blanket ban on firecrackers’.

The Calcutta High Court had ordered a ban on the sale and use of all forms of firecrackers, including green crackers, in West Bengal on Friday, 29 October. The order was issued till 31 December, ahead of upcoming occasions of Diwali, Kali Puja, Chaath Puja, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve.

The HC’s order was based on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Roshni Ali, a filmmaker and activist based in Kolkata.

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Since the order on Friday, Roshni has been subjected to trolling and abuse online. Even a report put out by a publication branded her as being ‘Anti-Ram Mandir’ and a ‘beef-eating person’ among other things. Many on the internet asked her why she did not file a PIL to ban the azan in Mosques and why she was ‘against Hindu festivities’.

Ahead of the SC’s hearing on Monday, Roshni says she could not access her Facebook account and was temporarily banned from posting on the social media platform.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Screengrab of Roshni Ali being unable to post on Facebook.&nbsp;</p></div>

Screengrab of Roshni Ali being unable to post on Facebook. 

The Quint spoke to Roshni, to know why she filed the PIL, and what she has to say about the ones trolling her on the internet.

“This has become a very communal matter, and my Ali title is being used as the main reason for the hatred. This is not about religion. We are part of a global conscious community and climate change is a part of our reality. We are at the brink of the sixth mass extinction.”
Roshni Ali, Filmmaker and Green Activist
The Supreme Court on Monday said that there cannot be a complete ban on firecrackers and a mechanism needs to be strenghthened to stop their misuse.

However, while arguing the case in the Calcutta High Court, advocate Rachit Lakhmani argued that 'there is no mechanism to ascertain what is a green cracker'.

Who is Roshni Ali?

On gaining sudden attention from media and on the internet, the filmmaker and green activist says, “Why is everyone concerned with who I am? This is for the larger picture. We need to raise the consciousness of human society instead of resorting to hooliganism.”

Why the PIL?

The PIL was filed keeping in mind the pandemic situation and the climate change crisis.

"I was expecting this ban to happen, it seemed like a logical decision. We are just recovering from the horrors of the second wave of the pandemic. People were dying because of a shortage of hospital beds and oxygen," she says.
Roshni Ali, Filmmaker and Green Activist

On the use of green crackers, she argues saying, "Green crackers or other crackers, they consume a lot of oxygen. We are living in terrible times, our lungs are suffering. Why do we need festivities, be it Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, New Years…which kills our lungs…? We are more than our religious identity."

Can Anyone Start a PIL? 

"Anyone can start a PIL. I do acknowledge that I have had great education, getting exposure to some of the greatest minds. I hope to use my education for the betterment of society," she says.

Speaking about how others can do their bit to bring about a change in society, she signs of saying, "I do believe that there are a lot of educated minds and may fear (voicing their opinions) because of the online bullying and hooliganism that we see. But if intelligent minds unite, I think we can bring change."

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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