Madurai

Cemetery attack: churches demand stern action

Representatives of political parties led by Bishop of Palayamkottai RC Diocese Rev. S. Antonysamy submitted a petition to Tirunelveli Collector Shilpa Prabhakar Satish on Monday.   | Photo Credit: A. SHAIKMOHIDEEN

Condemning the vandalisation of 86 graves at a cemetery of Sacred Heart Church in Udaiyaarpatti, all political parties, including the ruling AIADMK, and Palayamkottai RC Diocese and Tirunelveli CSI Diocese, on Monday appealed to Collector Shilpa Prabhakar Satish to ensure detention of the miscreants under the Goondas Act.

A resolution passed in an all-party meeting held at the church with Rev. S. Antonysamy, Bishop of Palayamkottai RC Diocese, in chair said the attacks were conducted in an organised manner with the ulterior motive of triggering religious clash among the people.

Since the cemeteries were badly damaged and would require at least ₹30 lakh to repair them, the government should bear the cost, another resolution said.

The district administration and police should initiate the most stringent action against those who were working overtime to create animosity and clash between people of different faiths, the meeting said.

AIADMK Tirunelveli district secretary Thatchai N. Ganesa Raja, former Rajya Sabha MP Vijila Sathyananth, Abdul Wahab of DMK, Tirunelveli MLA A.L.S. Lakshmanan of DMK, K.M.A. Nizam of MDMK, K. Sankarapandian of Congress, S. Kasi Viswanathan of CPI, Bilal of Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam, Hayat of Social Democratic Party of India, Suresh of Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, Rev. Giftson of Tirunelveli CSI Diocese (Communications), Rev. Fr. Joseph Michael Selvaraj and representatives of a few more political parties accompanied Rev. Antonysamy when he met the Collector and handed over the resolutions passed unanimously at the meeting.

The Collector assured them of appropriate action.

Members of a few fringe outfits were objecting to burial of bodies in the 40-year-old cemetery saying it was situated close to a temple at Manimurtheeswaram.

Besides the granite cross atop the tombs, the polished granite tops on the graves also suffered damage. A portion of the compound wall around the cemetery was broken. The descretion triggered anger among Christians, particularly families who had their kin buried there.

“Although Christians affiliated to Sacred Heart Church at Udaiyaarpatti are buried here over the last 40 years after buying and registering the land for this purpose, a few affiliated to fringe religious groups, with the nefarious intention of triggering clashes between Christians and Hindus, are doing this,” parishioners said.

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Printable version | Nov 23, 2020 9:23:25 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/cemetery-attack-churches-demand-stern-action/article32893844.ece

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