4 arrested for vandalizing Durga murtis in Arunachal Pradesh, police downplay any ‘communal angle’

Several Durga murtis placed at the Durga Pooja Mandap organized by Doimukh Bazar Welfare Committee, in Doimukh, Arunachal Pradesh, were found defaced after the pooja mandap was ransacked by a bunch of miscreants on the intervening night of October 5th and 6th

Though local devotees alleged that Christian youths were involved in the incident, Papum Pare Superintendent of Police Jimmy Chiram maintained that the incident was an outcome of ‘individual grievances’. “We find that this is not the incident of fixed targeting,” said the SP.

Vandalised murtis in the Durga Puja pandal (Credit: Arunachal24.in)

Stunned at the incident, President of the Bazar Welfare Committee, Dobum Robi expressed his disappointment while talking to media personnel. He informed that such an incident has happened for the first time in the history of one of Arunachal Pradesh’s oldest townships. He also demanded immediate arrest of the miscreants for their misdemeanor.

The Chief patron of the affected Durga Pandal, Nabam Takar, said that apart from the vandalism of murtis, a theft also occurred late on the same night in the township. However, the incident has not dampened the enthusiasm of the devotees and they are continuing with the prayers with smaller murtis.

SP Jimmy Chiram said that a case has been registered at the Doimukh Police Station under section 448, 427, 295, and 34 IPC. The case number 63/19 is now under investigation. 

As per latest news, all 4 criminals responsible for this crime have been taken into custody by state police. Police said the men aged between 25-30 years broke into the pooja mandap allegedly under the ‘high influence of alcohol’ – those arrested have been identified as Nabam Achuma, Nabam Sonam, Tana Changriang and Tam Gumin

We understand that the state police are striving to quickly bury this incident by brushing off the doubts of devotees pointing directly toward Christian fundamentalism in this reprehensible incident. While we are appreciative of administration maintaining social peace and harmony, can we totally overlook the possibilities of this vandalism being a hate crime against Hindus? 

The comments of some local social media users on this incident reek of anti-Hindu communal hatred. While some abhor that the Hindu festival has started being celebrated in the north-eastern state, others  are seen gloating over the defaced murtis of Devi Durga. We may keep our eyes shut and pretend everything is all sunshine and roses, but that will do little to maintain communal harmony. Communal harmony is a collective responsibility, Hindus alone cannot be thrusted with it and expected to shoulder it till eternity like they have been doing since the past 70 years. 

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