Controversy over Mizoram chief minister Lal Thanhawla’s lighting a candle in front of a Durga idol in 2011 has resurfaced again with the opposition Mizo National Front (MNF) announcing a protest rally on May 23.
A photograph published in a newspaper in 2011 had shown Lal Thanhawla and his wife lighting a candle in front of a huge picture/idol of Goddess Durga. This was used by MNF and other opposition parties to accusing the chief minister of betraying Christianity and indulging in the rituals of other religion.
The opposition parties have been criticizing Lal Thanhawla since he returned to power in December, 2008, of indulging in Hidu rituals such as breaking coconuts while inaugurating Mizoram Houses outside the state. The “action plan committee” of the MNF, which met in Aizawl on Thursday, made the decision to hold the rally. A press statement issued by MNF on Friday said the rally would be in protest against worshiping of idols by the head of the state of Mizoram.
“A leader may go to the houses of worship of other religion in a secular country, but he or she should not perform the rituals if he is a true believer of his faith,” said an MNF leader.
Lal Thanhawla, a self-proclaimed Christian, is also head of the Christian-dominated state of Mizoram and by worshiping idols of other religion, he betrayed his own religion and his people, the MNF statement said. It added that the rally would signify the people’s desire to protect Christianity in the state.
The ruling Congress, however, maintained that India is a secular state and the leaders should attend festivals of other religions. “Even our governors, who are Hindus, attended church services in Aizawl and other places and were never been accused of betraying Hinduism,” a Mizoram Congress leader said.
The MNF maintained that no one would object if the chief minister visited a temple or a mosque, but participating in a ritual of other religion was a serious matter which other leaders belonging to other religion would never do in a church.