High tension prevailed in Barpeta town in Assam after a Lakshmi temple was vandalised and looted by a Muslim man today. Apart from vandalising the temple, it was also torched by the man.
According to reports, the idol of Goddess Lakshmi at the historical temple in Keotkuchi area in Barpeta was damaged by one Rafiqul Ali in the early morning on 9th October. He had also looted the temple and damaged the floor tiles and other items kept at the temple. Rafiqul also tore banners and posters, and damaged decorations, which were put up at the temple for the upcoming Lakshmi Puja on 13th October (in Assam and some other eastern states Lakshmi puja is celebrated on the full moon after the Vijaya Dashami, while Kali Puja is celebrated on Diwali after a fortnight).
After vandalising the temple, Rafiqul Ali had proceeded to torch various items of the temple, along with cloths of the Lakshmi idol. Seeing fire coming out of the temple, locals arrived at the scene and caught the perpetrator red-handed, who was hiding in a corner of the temple. Gold and silver jewellery and other valuables were found with him which he had looted from the temple. A dagger was also found which he was carrying.
The local people have handed over the man to the police, who surprisingly remained in the temple after vandalising and looting it, instead of attempting to flee. He was identified as Rafiqul Ali, a resident of Shantipur in Bhella area of the Barpeta town.
Additional police forces have been deployed at the area to prevent any communal conflict as a result of the incident.