Guwahati: Alleging harassment of Hindus in Meghalaya, the Bajrang Dal in Assam’s Barak Valley has called for a boycott of Christmas celebrations.
On Thursday, the Bajrang Dal took out a rally in Silchar against ‘love jihad’ and for a boycott of Christmas festivities in the Barak Valley. The massive rally was led by the Bajrang Dal’s Cachar district General Secretary Mithun Nath.
Addressing local media during the rally, Nath alleged that “churches in Meghalaya” were “indirectly behind incidents against Hindus”.
“Hindu businessmen are not given trade licenses, beaten up, shops are being shut down. How long should we tolerate? It is time we answer likewise,” Nath said, while mentioning a Bengali proverb — “Jemon kukur temon mugur” — the meaning of which is closest to the English saying “As is the evil, so is the remedy”.
“In Silchar, we have already started a back-breaking movement against love jihad. In Meghalaya, they are attacking Hindu minorities of different communities in separate incidents — Bengali, Nepali, Bihari and Punjabi…Since past one year, Hindus have been harassed in the name of NRC, they call all Bengalis as Bangladeshis — it is done by the church, not directly, but through the student bodies in Meghalaya,” he said.
Nath had, earlier this month, threatened to beat up Hindus who would visit churches on Christmas. A senior police official in Silchar said they are monitoring the situation.
Father Justin of Holy Cross Church in Silchar, however, said churches were closed for visitors Friday in view of the pandemic. “It is not because of any Bajrang Dal threat, but due to Covid-19 crisis, we are restricting public gathering. It is not fair to tell anyone to get out, so we have put up a banner outside announcing our decision, and also informed the community members. God’s blessings will be with them even if they don’t come to church,” he told ThePrint.
Apart from the Holy Cross, there are two other major churches in Silchar town — the Presbyterian Church in Oriental High School and the Baptist Church near district administration office.
‘Hindus should have self-respect’
The Bajrang Dal has been getting active in parts of Assam in the recent past. But while the outfit has been taking out rallies in the Barak Valley, no such activity was witnessed in the state’s Brahmaputra Valley.
Speaking to ThePrint, Nath said he stands by his earlier statement because he wants Hindus to “maintain self-respect”.
“I am not against Christians celebrating Christmas, but I want Hindus to have some self-respect and not go about merry making. I have nothing against anyone attending personal invitations for Christmas, but they should not take part in mass gatherings or festivities,” Nath said, adding that the rally was a “show of power” in the interest of the Hindu society.
At a working committee meeting of the Bajrang Dal in Silchar on 3 December, Nath had said, “If Hindus go and visit churches on Christmas day, they will be taught a lesson…They are locking temples in Shillong and we are celebrating with them. This can’t be allowed.”
He was referring to the alleged closure of the Vivekananda Centre, a part of Ramakrishna Mission, by the Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) in Meghalaya’s capital Shillong.
It was earlier reported that the Cachar district administration had asked the Assam Police to investigate the alleged inflammatory speech made by Nath, but no action has been taken yet. ThePrint tried to contact Cachar Deputy Commissioner Keerthi Jalli but she was unavailable for a comment.