Silchar Presbyterian Church

Silchar: Four more minors, allegedly involved in disrupting a Christmas program in southern Assam’s Silchar town on Dec 25 demanding that Hindus shun the celebrations, have been detained, a senior police official said on Tuesday. Two minors were detained and released on Sunday on submission of a bond, promising to turn up at the police station if asked.

The incident happened on Dec 25 night, outside Silchar Presbyterian Church. The venue was crowded with people from various faiths when some “young hooligans” gathered near the church and obstructed the Hindus from entering. 

When asked why they were objecting to the celebration, the boys reportedly said as Hindus, they should be celebrating ‘Tulsi Diwas’ that coincided with Christmas. 

Several videos have also gone viral over the internet, which shows the boys wearing saffron scarves and claiming to be from Bajrang Dal, causing a ruckus outside the church campus. The boys further said that they were not imposing any restriction on the Christians to celebrate the day but wanted the Hindus to refrain from it.

“We are not against Christmas… let only Christians celebrate Christmas. We are against Hindu boys and girls participating in Christmas functions. Today it was the Tulsi Diwas of Hindus, but no one celebrated. It hurts our sentiments,” one of the attackers was heard saying in the viral video.

Cachar Superintendent of Police Ramandeep Kaur has informed that police have not received any complaint against the incident, though six (initially 2 and then 4) youngsters have been detained in this connection. “We are looking into the incident. We don’t have any inputs on the involvement of any group so far,” the SP added.

Of the six teenagers, three are 16 and two are 17 years old, informed the police. One is in their mid-20s.

Though the accused minors have claimed to be from Bajrang Dal, the saffron organisation categorically denied involvement in this incident.  

Mithun Nath, president of Bajrang Dal’s Southern Assam wing, said none of their members was involved in this action. “Last year, we appealed to Hindus not to celebrate Christmas because of the incident of attacking Hindu temples in Shillong. But this time, we didn’t resist. Some teenagers created ruckus, but they are not from this organisation. They could not provide any proof of Bajrang Dal membership, and we don’t induct minors,” said Mithun Nath.

He also condemned the hype of the issue on the national media. “So much of hype is uncalled for. Police are doing their job, let’s not put those minors under media trial,” Nath said.

Among those who were manhandled was the son of a senior journalist from Silchar, Anirbanjyoti Gupta. He wrote over Facebook, “…some self-claimed “Bajrang Dal” activists today manhandled my son an NIT Scholar…just for attending a Christmas festival in Silchar near Silchar oriental school. Shame, shame, shame. Is it the Culture of Hindutva? We should think once again.”

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