Guwahati: The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has warned Hindus against visiting churches during Christmas in Assam’s Barrak Valley, saying if they go they “will get brutally beaten”.
In a video that has gone viral, Mithu Nath, the general secretary of Cachar district unit of the VHP, says, “If Hindus go and visit Churches on Christmas Day, they will get brutally beaten.”
Speaking amidst the slogan of “Jai Shri Ram” by his supporters, he adds, “They are locking temples in Shillong and we are going and celebrating Christmas with them. This cannot happen, we will not allow this to happen.”
Mr Nath said he was “outraged” over the alleged shutting down of the Vivekananda Centre (part of the Ramakrishna Mission) in Christian-majority Meghalaya state’s capital Shillong.
While Mr Nath tried to peg his communally divisive and criminal threat as a retaliation to the alleged closure of a Hindu temple in Meghalaya by the Khasi Student Union, the charge has been denied by the Meghalaya government.
An official in the government said that the Cultural Centre (where students are taught advanced computer courses) whose gates had been closed — not locked — was because of a district holiday. No temple of the Ramakrishna Mission has been shut, the official added.
However, the rightwing group, which has always sought to create communal issues to drive a wedge and then consolidate its position, remains undeterred by facts.
“We will not allow Hindus in programmes during Christmas when they are locking gates of temples in Shillong,” Mr Nat
said while addressing a crowd of around 70 people dressed in saffron and shouting “Jai Shri Ram”.
Although the Christian population in the northeastern state’s Cachar district is relatively small, Christmas is traditionally celebrated by the Oriental School at Ambikapatty near Silchar. People from various religions gather there to mark the birth of Christ every year.