Statues of Jesus and Mary pulled down; window panes broken
The caretaker’s room was locked from outside
An attempt was made to set a car on fire
BANGALORE: Unidentified miscreants vandalised St. Francis De Sales Church in Hebbagodi, off Hosur Road, on Thursday early morning, desecrating two statues placed in a grotto and damaging window panes.
“Some people came around 2.30 a.m. and first brought down the statues of Mother Mary and Jesus. Later they broke the glass panes of about 40 windows,” said parish priest Father Aloysius.
The church is situated on a big campus that also houses a school and a college. The vandalism first came to the notice of Arul, caretaker, who was sleeping in a room adjoining the entrance to the campus. “Someone locked my room from outside and I heard the sounds of the statues being brought down and glass shattering on both sides of the church,” he said.
Mr. Arul said he shouted for help, calling out to people working in a new building coming up on the premises. They let him out and he rushed to the priest’s residence to alert him. “An attempt had also been made to set a car on fire,” the priest, Father Aloysius said.
Senior police officials visited the spot and Superintendent of Police (Bangalore Rural) B.A. Mahesh said: “A stick or a rod has been used to break the glass panes. The miscreants did not enter the church,” he said.
The Hebbagodi police have registered a case.
This Catholic church, named after Saint Francis, was established over four decades ago. “We belong to the Missionaries of St. Francis, which has been in existence for nearly 150 years. We are catering to the education, health and other needs of people in rural areas,” Father Aloysius said. For the last 10 years the church has been functioning in a new building. “There has not been any such incident in the past,” Father Aloysius said. Security had been provided for the church for the past nine months. “But without any reason, it was withdrawn early this month,” he added. Mr. Mahesh said the police had been patrolling the church premises. However, recently the police had been deployed to maintain law and order during the Ganesh idols’ immersion and for Ramzan, he said.
Hebbagodi residents blocked traffic for nearly 30 minutes as a protest against the vandalism.