Tribal group protests Marian statue

India – Protests have been held against a newly erected statue of the Virgin Mary which portrays her in local garb.

Set in place in May by members of a church in Singhpur village, Jharkhand, the guise of the statue was originally intended to honour local traditions but has instead drawn the anger of devotees of the Sarna religion, a nature-worshipping tradition.

A number of marches to demand the removal of the statue have now taken place, with promises that more militant action could follow

According to Bandhan Tigga, a priest and spokesman for Sarna: “We are urging the Christian authorities to remove the statue. If our pleas are ignored, we will be forced to launch surprise attacks on this church to pull down the statue soon.” Tigga accused the church of using the statue as “a tool to convert more tribals to Christianity”.