KARNATAKA

Church desecrated in city

Looking for clues: Forensic experts at work at the St. Antony’s Church at Kavalbyrasandra in Bangalore on Sunday.

Looking for clues: Forensic experts at work at the St. Antony’s Church at Kavalbyrasandra in Bangalore on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: — Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

Staff Reporter

Incident comes a month after the Hebbagodi attack

BANGALORE: A recently renovated church at Kavalbyrasandra in north Bangalore was found vandalised early on Sunday.

The attack comes just a month after a church at Hebbagodi on the outskirts of the city was desecrated.

The culprits had forced their way into St. Antony’s Church by breaking open the front door before taking the flight of stairs to the first floor, where prayers are held. The Holy Communion was removed from the tabernacle and spilled across the floor. Three boxes, where people put their offerings, were also found damaged. The miscreants had taken away two vessels in which holy sacrament was kept and also a sacred container.

The incident came to light when the sacristan of the church, Devadas, who makes preparations for the Sunday Mass, went to open the main door at 5 a.m. “I was shocked to see the front door open. Somebody had made forced entry into the church,” he said. When he noticed the desecrated tabernacle and the boxes, he called the parish priest Rev. Fr. A.S. Arockiadoss, who also stays on the church premises.

“This is a planned act done to hurt our religious sentiments. It’s the way they have dealt with the Holy Communion that has hurt us,” said Fr. Arockiadoss. “Though the church was renovated recently, we have been here for the past two years and live in complete harmony with the residents,” he said.

Archbishop Bernard Moras, who visited the church, asked the police to nab the culprits.

The church authorities had not deployed any security personnel on the premises. “We have never felt the need for engaging security personnel for the church. We also do not have any costly items inside,” said Fr. Arockiadoss.

In the complaint filed with the police, the church authorities suspected the involvement of three persons who were moving around the church on Saturday night.

New church

The incident occurred in the renovated church that was inaugurated by Archbishop Moras on September 11. The parish priest and sacristan stay in the first and second floor of the building adjoining the church.

Shock and surprise

The incident left devotees who came for the morning Mass shocked and surprised. “I did not get a hint about the desecration till the Father told us about it during Mass,” said John Bosco, who attended the first Mass held at 6.30 a.m. Many people come to the church to find remedies for their problems. “We have been visiting the church for a long time. The mischief mongers have damaged the items in which we see Jesus,” said Anthony Cruz and his wife Mekline Juliet.

A large number of people took part in the Mass held during the day.

Theft suspected

A senior police officer said the incident at the St. Antony’s Church indicated the possibility of a theft. An iron rod was used to open the front door.

“The possibility of theft cannot be ruled out because the miscreants had taken away the offerings, which indicates that the incident had been carried out for the sake of money,” a police official. The police are investigating the case as a desecration and also as a theft, the police officer said.

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