Kolkata: The Kolkata Police is mulling legal action against those who seek to take selfies with deity Durga during a festival in the eastern city of Kolkata.

According to police officials, selfie-seekers have become a major menace as they not only obstruct free movement of people inside the marquee but also create chaos, especially if a group gathers to take a photograph with the deity in the backdrop. Popularly known among netizens as wilfie, this is the biggest concern for the police gearing up to manage the annual congregation of visitors to the city.

“They are a menace as they slow down the process of crowd movement, affecting the whole plan. We request organisers to create a special selfie zone and stop others from taking selfies from their point of choosing,” said a senior official of the police.

The organisers agree to this plan, as people trying to take selfies create a major hassle for them, especially late at night when thousands throng to visit the makeshift temples. “Selfie seekers became a major menace last time and police is right in asking them to stop taking selfies as it disrupts the movement of people within the puja complex,” said Atin Gupta, a puja organiser in North Kolkata.

Police is considering a fine against those who disobey the rules. “We are considering all legal options and consulting our lawyers,” the officer added.

However, visitors are not happy with these developments as many consider it a dictate against personal freedom. “Police cannot set rules on things that people do without harming others. Durga Puja is the biggest festival of the state and we wait for it all through the year. Taking selfies cannot be termed as a crime,” said Sayantan Sen, a student.

However, many believe that the craze over selfies is less than it was a year ago, when it became an obsession among the youth. “Last year it was a new thing but now people have become accustomed with it and will not be obsessed in taking selfies,” said Tridib Das, another puja organiser.

Social scientists say social platforms have seriously affected the behavioural pattern of the young where doing something is not enough unless it is broadcasted to friends and family through platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. “Earlier, visiting a pandal [marquee] was important. Now tagging it and having its pictures broadcasted over social media is more important. People have forgotten [how] to live in the present,” said Kaushik Sengupta, a social scientist.

“Smartphone is the new toy and people are likely to use it to maximum unless something new comes out or it becomes a passe. Until they [do] even [deities] will not be spared from this selfie-obsessed generation,” added Sengupta.