Silchar: Goons ask Hindus to leave Christmas event
A five-member group claiming to be Bajrang Dal cadres on Saturday evening disrupted a Christmas event organised outside the Presbyterian Church in Assam’s Silchar, asking the Hindus attending the celebration to vacate the venue.
Silchar SP Ramandeep Kaur Dhillon told The Telegraph that the youths asked the Hindus at the venue to leave and celebrate their own festivals. “There was no scuffle or damage to property. They had no issue with the Christians gathered there but told the Hindus not to take part in the celebration. They were there for about five-seven minutes,” Dhillon said, adding that two 17-year-olds have been detained, on Sunday.
The venue is located around 2km from the Silchar police station and 1km from the Tarapur police outpost.
“We don’t have any formal complaint till Sunday evening but we have identified and detained two of the five youths. We have also not found any link with Bajrang Dal but will take the case to its logical end,” Dhillon said.
The youths had later released a video claiming they were Bajrang Dal members and had nothing against Christians and Christmas celebration, but wanted Hindus to stay away from it.
Shuvo Ranjan Das, convener of the Bajrang Dal in Silchar, told this newspaper that “some young boys did something” but they did not belong to his organisation. “The police also inquired about the boys... We don’t support such acts,” Das said.
Local residents told The Telegraph that Christmas celebration on Church Road was an annual event and they looked forward to it. Silchar is a Hindu-majority town with a Christian population of a few thousands.
“The streets were choked with people on way to the venue. All of a sudden, these boys arrived at around 7.30pm and asked Hindus to leave and celebrate their own festivals,” one of the residents said.
The celebrations ended soon after and the church gate was closed by 8.30pm.
Senior journalist Anirban Jyoti Gupta, whose son had an argument with the group, said what happened was “very unfortunate”.
“Such hooliganism is a blot on India’s composite culture. One can’t force the other not to take part in festivals. Even the Prime Minister and the chief minister had wished everyone on Christmas. Very unfortunate,” Gupta, whose father Bishnu Mohan Gupta was the first RSS sanghachalak of undivided Cachar district, told this newspaper.
Assam Christian Forum spokesperson Allen Brooks said they were deeply pained over issue.
“Religion teaches one to reach out to people, love and be affectionate,” Brooks said.