Statue of Don Bosco statue vandalized in India ‎

2015-08-10 Vatican Radio

Politically motivated religious fanaticism reared its ugly head in northeast India on Friday when a crowd of miscreants vandalized a statue of Don Bosco and threw it into the Bharalu river, near Guwahati, the commercial capital of Assam state.  On the evening of 6 August, the statue had been placed on a pedestal on the shore of Bharulu, a tributary of the Brahmaputra, to be unveiled to the public the following day, as part of the worldwide celebration of the 200th birth anniversary of the founder of the Society of Don Bosco.  According to an eye witness, hours before the ceremony, a group of more than 100 people began pelting stones and flower vases at the statue and then threw it into the river. As a result, the arm of the statue broke.  On Saturday, police arrested four members of the local branch of the Hindu right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).   

Days ahead of the incident, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), BJP’s student wing had protested against the installation of the monument.  Opponents of Don Bosco allege the Italian spiritual leader has not contributed anything to the Assamese society, and found it offensive to install his statue along with sociopolitical leaders of Assam at a public place.  They said the state’s Congress party government approved the installation of the statue to please their party president Sonia Gandhi, an Italian by birth. 

State Chief MinisterTarun  Gogoi has “strongly condemned” the incident saying, we must acknowledge the contribution made by John Bosco in the field of education and society at large.”  “This incident is unfortunate and some elements are responsible. Disagreement and dissent must be seen in a positive light, but to desecrate and then throw [the statue] into the river wounds our religious sentiment," Gogoi added. 

(from Vatican Radio)