Some Christians in Assam’s Tezpur tried to disrupt and stop the Hindu preparation for the upcoming Durga Puja, leading to a dispute between the followers of the two religions, injuring six people. The prelude to the incident was set a few days ago in a colony of Tezpur where Christian missionaries have succeeded in converting people of different Scheduled Castes.
Demographically, 70% of the people of the inhabitants here are now Christians. As is the regular autumnal practice, the Hindu community in the area were making preparations for the upcoming Durga Puja.
The ‘born again’ Christians raised objection to the worship of Goddess Durga whom they believed in until recently. They harassed the organisers busy arranging for the logistics of the festival when the Hindus were making security arrangements for the puja.
When the harassed Hindus protested, the Christians attacked them. A fierce clash ensued between Hindus and Christians on 27 September. Six people from both sides were injured.
Local Hindus told reporters that they were scared. One of them said, “About 70% of the people living in this neighbourhood are Christians and only 30% of the population here remain Hindus. But the neo-Christians used to be Hindus of various Scheduled Castes.”
“By luring them with money, missionaries drew the Dalits to their fold. Earlier, these people would have surnames that marked their castes. Now they don’t,” a resident said.
“The Christians are now constantly heckling us, the minority that Hindus have reduced to being in the locality. We are not allowed to worship. If we chant bhajans in the colony, they pelt stones and abuse us. If people take out a Hanuman insignia, they tear it down,” said another local Hindu.
The locals said the Hindus who had refused to leave their ancient faith live in great danger. When the interreligious dispute took a serious turn, we informed the police. The cops intervened and brought the situation under control.
Hindus ten lodged a complaint against the Christian rioters at the Tezpur Sadar Police Station for obstructing Durga Puja.
This is not the only dispute that occurs in the eastern states of India. In Assam as well as West Bengal, Muslim infiltrators from Bangladesh and Muslim settlers from other parts of the country attack Hindus unprovoked.