Unidentified miscreants vandalised several crosses put atop the graveyard at the cemetery attached to St. Michael’s Church in Mumbai’s Mahim on Saturday.
Pictures of the vandalised crosses went viral on social media, and the incident has caused deep distress and much consternation among the Catholic community in Mumbai and across the country.
The Mumbai Police began an investigation into the incident of vandalism in the Catholic cemetery.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) spokesperson Clyde Crasto condemned the incident and urged Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, his deputy and Home Minister Devendra Fadnavis, and the Mumbai Police to take ‘immediate cognisance’s of the issue.
“This act seems like a deliberate attempt to pressurise and disturb the peace-loving Catholic community in Mumbai,” he said.
“News of graves and crosses vandalised at the St. Michael’s Church graveyard in Mahim, Mumbai is very disturbing. This incident happened immediately after the temporary withdrawal of the land acquisition notice to St. Peter’s Church, Bandra raises many doubts,” the NCP leader said.
Mr. Crasto further said that the desecration of graves means hurting the feelings and emotions of people who have lost their loved ones, and damaging the cross hurts the religious sentiments of the Catholic community.
“The perpetrators of this crime must be arrested immediately and severe action must be taken,” he demanded.
Another NCP leader, Vidya Chavan, said “I strongly condemn the damaging and desecration of the crosses and graves at St. Michael’s Church, Mahim, Mumbai. I urge Maharashtra CM for full protection of all churches and graveyards across Mumbai. I urge Mumbai Police to ensure that those responsible be arrested and strict action be taken against the culprits.”
“It is really sad to see all this has acts have now started in a well-educated Maharashtra. Hope the State government takes stern action against the perpetrators at the earliest,” she tweeted.
A similar incident of vandalism at a church was reported from Narayanpur district in Chhattisgarh recently.