» 09/12/2012, 00.00
Cardinal Gracias: The desecration of Our Lady of Lourdes, a vulgar and shameful act
The president of the Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI) condemns the acts of vandalism committed by police during the Idinthakarai which exploded after (peaceful) antinuclear protests in Kudankulam. Police agents destroyed two statues of the Madonna and have urinated on them.
Mumbai (AsiaNews) - The desecration of a church is a "vulgar,
thoughtless and shameful" act "even more unacceptable" when
carried out by law enforcement officers, says Card. Oswald Gracias, President
of the Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI).
The cardinal condemns the acts of vandalism committed by police officers
in the church of Our
Lady of Lourdes in the village of Idinthakarai (Tamil Nadu), in violence that
erupted during the protests against the Kudankulam nuclear power plant.
Two days ago, a new peaceful demonstration to stop the construction of the
plant turned into a nightmare for the local community. Police opened fire on
the crowds to disperse them, killing a fisherman. A 6 year old girl lost her
life, crushed by the fleeing crowd. Then, some agents raided Our Lady of
Lourdes Church destroying two statues of the Virgin Mary, and urinating on them
(see 11/09/2012, " Police
violence against antinuclear protesters: two dead and a church profaned ").
"The police - says Card. Gracias - has the duty to protect churches and
places of worship, because all must be respected. Nothing can justify such an atrocious
act. It is a mark on the secular
credentials of India,
which challenge our national conscience. "
The local community - mostly Catholic and devoted to fishing - have been
opposed to the construction of Kudankulam plant for several years. According to
the people, it is not safe, and will have an impact on the environment
dangerous for the lives and livelihoods of the inhabitants. For the authorities
of Tamil Nadu, however, the system is safe and is the best way to make up for
the energy shortage in the area. In addition, according to the government
"hidden" foreign and Catholic NGOs are behind the protests, funding
anti-nuclear activists. For this reason, last February the state froze
the bank accounts of four NGOs, including the two headed by Msgr. Yvon
Ambroise, Bishop of Tuticurin (epicenter of the protest, ed.)
The President of the CBCI points out: "The Catholic Church has always
expressed solidarity with our brothers and sisters in need all over India. We reaffirm
our commitment to ensure economic and social justice for our fellow
citizens." According to the cardinal, "true development safeguards
the dignity of the human being. It is our duty to accept responsibility for
each other, and the growth of India
as a whole. At the same time, we must create conditions of justice and peace in
which individuals and communities can truly flourish".
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The victims are a fisherman of 44 and a 6 year-old girl. The man was killed by a shot fired by the police, the little girl was crushed. A priest denounces the "atrocities" committed by police: attacks on unarmed and non-violent protesters; statues of the Madonna destroyed and desecrated.
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