Don Bosco's statue desecrated in Guwahati, Assam
Don Bosco's statue desecrated in Guwahati, Assam Staff Reporter,

Guwahati: Four memberss of Assam unit of BJP, including a municipal
councillor of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) were arrested on
Saturday morning on charges of desecrating a statue of St John Bosco
which was supposed to be installed in the city.

Earlier, a group of miscreants vandalized the statue and threw it into
river Brahmaputra. Akhil Bharatya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) also
opposed in the installation of Bosco statue which was to be installed
during the 200th birth anniversary celebration of the saint.

Local media reported that miscreants shouted slogans ‘Bharat Mata Ki
Jai, Vande Mataram’ and broke the statue of Don Bosco which was
supposed to be inaugurated by Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi.

This has created sharp reactions from different sections of the society.

Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi condemned the incident. In a
statement, the CM said that the contribution of the saint towards the
uplift of education must be appreciated.

The Assam State Commission for Minorities on Saturday has sought a
detailed report from the government on the vandalism and desecration
of the statue of Don Bosco.

“It is shocking and painful. Such acts of destructive misadventures
will harm and damage our secular society,” said a statement from the
minorities’ panel.

Many in the city have expressed concern at the deterioration of
‘secularism’ in the country. Prasanta Rajguru, editor of popular
Assamese daily ‘Amar Asom’ said that it was a shocking incident. “Of
late we have witnessed a tendency to insult the concept of
‘secularism’. It’s an unfortunate incident…The country is in a point
where secularism is under threat,” Rajguri wrote in a column.

The people in general have also condemned the action of the
miscreants. “ABVP protested against installation of Don Bosco statue,
goons demolished the statue and threw it in to Brahmaputra. There are
scores of Don Bosco schools and hundreds of other missionary schools
in Assam. These schools are literally backbone of the nation.
Missionary schools have brought revolution in education sector in
India. Don Bosco is one of the symbols of that revolution. Why should
anyone have problem if his statue is installed in Guwahati?” asked
Aman Wadud, a youth activist and an advocate at Gauhati High Court.

He pointed out that interestingly goons chanted ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’
while demolishing the statue, in the process they also pelted stone at
CRPF jawans injuring two. “They pelted stone at Jawans who protect
‘Bharat Mata’ and demolish statue of a symbol who builds ‘Bharat Mata’
who are literally the backbone of ‘Bharat Mata’,” Wadud added.

The protesters accused the state government of overlooking the
patriotic sentiments of the people of the state by giving the go-ahead
for installation of a person’s statue who ‘had no personal
contribution for Assam’.

“It’s a sad and unfortunate incident. Some groups were incited by
people with vested interests. Don Bosco’s contribution to Assamese
society is known to all,” said Sebastian Matthew, rector and principal
of Don Bosco School.

The BJP leaders, however, denied the charge and shouted slogans in
front of Bharalu police station on Saturday evening where its four
arrested members were lodged.

“We need to condemn such incidents which should not have a place in a
secular society like Assam where all religions have co-existed
peacefully since time immemorial. I think the riverfront has enough
space for every personality irrespective of religious affiliations
whose contributions towards Assamese society have been immense and
noteworthy,” said Bobbeeta Sharma, a spokesperson of the Congress

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