Thursday, May 20, 2010

Buddhist monk assaulted in Mizoram

By Paritosh Chakma
(In a case of religious intolerance, a Buddhist monk, Ven. Kacchayana Bhikku was brutally assaulted by a group of Mizo youth near Phuldungsei, 147 km from Aizawl in Mizoram on the night of 19 May 2010.)

Thu, May 20, 2010 15:36:59 IST

A BUDDHIST monk belonging to Chakma ethnic tribe was attacked by some unknown miscreants in Mizoram on the night of 19 May 2010. The incident took place at around 9-30 PM near Phuldungsei in Mamit district, 147 km from Aizawl.

Buddhist monk, Ven. Kacchayana Bhikku was assaulted when he was carrying a Buddha statue in a hired vehicle from Guwahati (Assam). This Buddha statue from Thailand was donated by Mahabodhi Society Bangalore to the Marpara South Buddhist Temple.

It so happened that the vehicle hired by Ven. Kacchayana Bhikku slightly hit the rear view mirror of another vehicle (a 407 vehicle) where about a dozen Mizos were coming from the opposite direction while negotiating for side near Phuldungsei. The Mizos asked the driver, who was a Bengali (a “Vai” in Mizos’ vocabulary) to get down. When the non-Mizo driver was reluctant, they dragged him and started beating him. Seeing this Ven. Kacchayana Bhikku of Marpara South Buddhist Temple intervened and requested the Mizo youths to spare his driver.

At this the Mizo youths began to interrogate Ven. Kacchayana Bhikku. The Buddhist monk showed them the Buddha statue and appealed them to let them go. But the Mizo youths brutally assaulted Ven. Kacchayana Bhikku. They punched him on the face and kicked him for several minutes. One of the assaulters even bit Ven. Kacchayana Bhikku on his bald head, leaving teeth imprints on the head.

Speaking to this writer on the phone from his Buddhist temple in Marpara today, Ven. Kacchayana Bhikku stated, “My case highlights religious intolerance in Mizoram. They fully knowing that I was a Buddhist monk assaulted and insulted me. But I can tell you not all Mizos are like that. After the incident, we could do little because we had failed to note down the number of the vehicle of the accused.”

Meanwhile, the Mizoram Chakma Development Forum (MCDF) has strongly condemned the attack on the Buddhist monk. In a statement, MCDF termed the attack as “unfortunate and unacceptable in a civilized society.”

Eighty Seven per cent of Mizoram's population are Christians. Buddhists constitute only 8% who are mainly Chakmas.

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