A group of Mizo religious fanatics publicly burnt an idol of Hindu god Lord Ganesha and the Indian National Flag after pouring petrol at Lunglei town in Mizoram on 21 September 2017.
In the video that went viral in social media, a group of Mizo youths wearing traditional ethnic dress are seen standing in a line, one of them holding the Indian National Flag while another was holding the “Cross”, the Christian religious symbol. The idol of Lord Ganesha was placed in front of the youths. Their leader identified as Mr Lalrinawma holding a Bible is heard delivering a provocative speech, quoting from the Bible how idol worship is prohibited in Christianity.
The video is not being shared to prevent communal enmity.
The leader of the group is further heard in the video saying that Mizoram is “Lalpa Ram”, the land of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is referred to as “Lalpa” (god) by Mizos and that they will not allow their land to be converted into Hindu land.
Then, a youth comes and pours petrol over the Lord Ganesha idol. The preacher, Mr Lalrinawma, then sets fire to the idol of Lord Ganesha in full public view.
Thereafter, they set fire to the Indian national flag. Then, a youth uses the stick of the national flag to smash the burnt idol and the pieces are collected in a sack before leaving the spot.
According to the sources, the Mizoram Police have arrested some of the youths from Sialsuk and brought to Lunglei. An activist, Matana Pachuau, administrator of “Mizoram New In English” popular facebook group, posted a photo of six Mizo youths in police lock up.
It is however not known under what sections these youths have been arrested.
Desecration of religious idols and the national flags are grave crimes in India.
Section 2 of the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971 states,
“Whoever in any public place or in any other place within public view burns, mutilates, defaces, defiles, disfigures, destroys, tramples upon or otherwise shows disrespect to or brings into contempt (whether by words, either spoken or written, or by acts) the Indian National Flag or the Constitution of India or any part thereof, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.”
Mizoram has 87.16% Christians, 8% Buddhists, 2.75% Hindus, 1.35% Muslims and 0.03% Sikhs as per Census 2011.
Chakma Buddhist minorities and Hindu Brus (also known as Reangs) have been facing acute religious discrimination in Mizoram. About 30,000 Reangs have been living in relief camps in Tripura since their expulsion in 1997.