Statue of Mary desecrated near Mysore

Special Correspondent

Vandalisation at the Holy Family Church at Hinkal; Bishop suspects “outsiders”

Bishop sees attempt to humiliate Christians

Says locals, Christians share excellent rapport

MYSORE: The Holy Family Church at Hinkal, about 10 km from here, was desecrated early on Monday, and the statue of Mary was found broken into pieces.

Though the police tried to link it with an attempt to loot the money in the donation box, members of the community said it was an organised attack to humiliate Christians and create fear among them. The statue, measuring about 3-ft high, was placed above the donation box and it was found lying broken on the ground.

The incident came to light around 6.30 a.m. when Robinson, a driver who also serves as a cook, noticed the broken statue and informed parish priest N.S. Marie Joseph. The matter was brought to the notice of Bishop of Mysore Thomas Vazhapilly, who rushed to Hinkal to take stock of the situation.

The police, who received the information around 9 a.m., sent a dog squad and fingerprint experts to the scene.

Senior police officers, including Deputy Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Ravikanthe Gowda, visited the spot. The Bishop said the statue of Mary had been destroyed to incite communal hatred and humiliate Christians, who are deeply hurt by the vandalism and destruction of the statue.

He disputed the police version linking the desecration to a burglary attempt and said there was no connection between the two. The police claimed that there were two attempts earlier to steal the donation box, but it was not brought to their notice.

Fr. Joseph said the church was attacked in 2002 when suspected activists of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the Bajrang Dal and other groups stoned and vandalised the prayer hall. He suspected the hand of “people outside Hinkal,” and said the local community and the Christians shared an excellent rapport; and even Hindus visited the church and made offerings.

Grotto desecrated

Mangalore Staff Correspondent reports:

Less than 48 hours after a cross at St. Lourdes Church near Bhatkal was desecrated, the glass casing of a grotto of St. Mary was found damaged at St. Antony’s Church in Teranmakki village, 10 km from Bhatkal city, late on Sunday.

The police believe that the attackers came in a vehicle and escaped after attacking the church, which is situated on National Highway 17. Inspector-General of Police (Western Range) Gopal B. Hosur told The Hindu that the attack might be in retaliation to the arrest of eight Sri Rama Sene activists in connection with the January 22 attack.

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