Forensic experts to visit vandalised church

Special Correspondent

They will study data collected from the crime scene

Community leaders told to provide list of churches perceived to be sensitive

Church authorities requested to install CCTVs as a security measure

MYSORE: Experts from the Forensic Science Laboratory in Bangalore will visit the Holy Family Church at Hinkal near Mysore that was vandalised in the early hours of Monday.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) R. Ravikanthe Gowda told presspersons here on Monday that the forensic experts were expected to reach the city on Tuesday. They would reconstruct the possible sequence of events, study the data collected from the crime scene, including photographs, and help the investigating team.

He said the police would investigate all possible angles, including the possibility of attempted theft resulting in the desecration of the statue of Mother Mary, though this has been disputed by the community members and the parish priest N.S. Marie Joseph. Mr. Gowda said that the police had registered a case based on the complaint filed by Fr. Joseph and would make all efforts to track down the culprits. The police had also registered a case under Section 153 (a) of the IPC pertaining to promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, etc.

The authorities also allayed fears expressed by a section of the community that the Government was trying to withdraw the case pertaining to an attack on the same church in February 2002 and said that this was not true. “The matter is before the court charge sheets have been filed against 16 people in that connection,” said Mr. Gowda.

Earlier, community members, including Bishop of Mysore Thomas Vazhapilly, attended a peace meeting convened by Additional Deputy Commissioner C.G. Betsurmath. The district administration has assured security and protection for churches and assuaged the fears of the community members. Mr. Betsurmath said there were 17 churches in Mysore, of which 15 were Roman Catholic churches and two were Protestant churches. The community leaders have been asked to provide a list of churches perceived to be sensitive or facing danger of vandalism and the authorities would make all possible arrangements to extend security to those churches.

Mr. Gowda said that they had also requested the church authorities to install CCTVs as a security measure. The police had also sought the participation of community members in beat policing.

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