Assam statue of the Virgin desecrated: two people arrested
by Nirmala Carvalho

The incident occurred in the village of Chapatoli. The detainees are accused of having desecrated the Catholic Church of St. Thomas. A group of 16 "Christmas carolers" assaulted in Tamil Nadu by a crowd of 150 people.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Assam police have arrested two people suspected of having participated in acts of vandalism on the Catholic church of St. Thomas and the cave of Our Lady in the village of Chapatoli, near Dulianjan. Those arrested are Motilal Rai, 45, and Sanjay Das, 55. The agents arrested them on December 15th, following the report of some local residents, who would have seen them sneak into the church the night before.

The Christian place of worship was desecrated on December 14th. The incident was discovered the next morning when the inhabitants noticed the open church door. After entering, they found the statue of the Virgin on the ground. Local resident Johan Lugun said that the criminals also attacked the crucifix.

Monsignor Joseph Aind, bishop of Dibrugarh, condemns the attack and demands that an investigation be opened immediately. He complains that "some forces try to sow seeds of hatred and discord among the people who live in peace in the tea plantations". The bishop also stresses that the populations living in this area have always "coexisted in peace and harmony".

Meanwhile, yesterday in Tamil Nadu another incident occurred that confirms the climate of religious intolerance present in India during this Christmas period. A group of  carol singers was attacked by Pudukottai while performing Christmas songs. The assaulted, 16 Christians in all, are part of the Brethren Outreach Team. They were ferociously beaten by around 150 people. The crowd did not want Christmas hymns to be performed. The episode brings to mind a similar incident that took place last year in Satna, in Madhya Pradesh. On December 14, 2017, a group of 30 seminarians and two priests were held hostage by Hindu fundamentalists for a few hours, after being arrested on their way to a distant village to perform Christmas carols. One of their cars was set on fire by the angry mob.