Days ahead of the incident, the BJP’s student wing had protested the installation of the statue.
|Saint John Bosco, a 19th century Italian priest, popularly known as Don Bosco, founded the Society of Don Bosco.|
Guwahati: Police have arrested four people in connection with vandalizing a statue of Don Bosco and dumping it the Bharalu river, near Guwahati last Friday.
The arrested are members of the local branch of the Hindu right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), reported Vatican Radio. They were arrested on Friday.
The statue was attacked on Thursday, on the eve of its planned public installation as part of the worldwide celebration of the 200th birth anniversary of the founder of the Society of Don Bosco. It had been placed on a pedestal on the shore of Bharulu, a tributary of the Brahmaputra, to be unveiled Friday morning.
According to an eyewitness, 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.
Days ahead of the incident, the BJP’s student wing, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, had protested against the installation of the monument.
Those oppose the installation of the statue allege that the Italian spiritual leader has not contributed anything to the Assamese society, and found it offensive to install his statue along with socio-political leaders of Assam at a public place.
They said the state’s ruling party, Congress, approved the installation of the statue to please their party president Sonia Gandhi, who is an Italian by birth.
State Chief Minister Tarun 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.
Source: Vatican Radio