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Graffiti mischief - Shillong Raj Bhavan bears caricature pain

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  • Published 19.06.10

Shillong, June 18: Caricatures of Jesus Christ, Pope Benedict XVI and Meghalaya Governor R.S. Mooshahary sprang up on the boundary walls of government buildings and educational institutions in various parts of the city this morning, shocking the Catholic church and the state government.

At Don Bosco square in Laitumkhrah, under the life-size statue of Don Bosco, a graffiti showed a picture of crucified Jesus with “Rs 9.26,36,105.80 p” written on top.

This was the amount mentioned in an RTI reply to a query by a Shillong-based NGO on the alleged misappropriation of funds in the purchase of corrugated galvanised iron sheets in the state.

The Meghalaya Right to Information Movement had revealed during a public hearing at Don Bosco Youth Centre in Laitumkhrah on May 4 that Rs 9,26,36,105.80 was allegedly swindled while buying corrugated galvanised iron sheets meant for beneficiaries under a rural housing scheme.

The entrance to Don Bosco Technical Institute and St Anthony’s College had paintings of Pope Benedict XVI with a message: “Arrest this man”.

All the graffiti was done with stencil spray paints.

Caricatures of the governor appeared in several parts of the boundary wall of Raj Bhavan with the words: “Hagne die uranium (uranium sold here), How much?”

One of the graffiti, with a picture of snake painted on the boundary wall of the office of the deputy commissioner, read, “Need uranium? THLEN (serpent in Khasi) at your service”.

There were also pictures of cockroaches on the walls of the Raj Bhavan.

Yet another showed the picture of a poor boy on the wall of Raj Bhavan with a message reading, “Sngewbha Seh Bah thied ine i kot jong nga (please buy my books).”

The picture of crucified Jesus at Don Bosco square was erased by the authorities later. The educational institutions have filed separate FIRs. The police have registered a case under Section 295 (A) of IPC which is “deliberate and malicious act intended to hurt the religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs”.

“It is the handiwork of mischief-mongers. The matter is very serious. Investigation is in on to trace the culprits,” East Khasi Hills superintendent of police A.R. Mawthoh said.

The Catholic church has condemned the graffiti portraying Jesus and Pope.

“We don’t know the motive of the people who have done this but at the same time we are concerned over the intolerance of the vested interests towards the church,” the Archbishop of Shillong Archdiocese, Dominic Jala, said.

Early this year, there was a controversy over the depiction of Jesus with beer in one hand and cigarette in the other in cursive writing books for primary classes in Shillong.