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    » 09/12/2012, 00.00

    INDIA

    Cardinal Gracias: The desecration of Our Lady of Lourdes, a vulgar and shameful act

    Nirmala Carvalho

    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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    See also

    24/08/2009 INDIA
    Cardinal Gracias: A year from the pogroms in Orissa, hope "for a new beginning"
    According to the Archbishop of Mumbai and president of the Catholic Bishops, the anti-Christian violence in Orissa was "one of the saddest moments in the history of India." The country "needs to restore its glorious multi-cultural, multi-religious and multi-linguistic tradition”.

    30/05/2007 INDIA
    Anti-Christian violence will destroy the country, says archbishop of Mumbai
    The prelate who chairs the Indian Bishops’ Conference talks to AsiaNews about yesterday’s big rally by Christian groups against religious intolerance and warns that without religious freedom India will crumble.

    20/04/2011 INDIA
    Despite anti-nuclear protests, the construction of the Jaitapur nuclear power plant goes ahead
    Police kill a man during protests. The Nuclear Power Corporation of India and France’s Areva will work together on the project with the French company providing the plant’s six reactors. Once up and running, it will have a capacity of 9,900 megawatt, the largest in the world.

    11/09/2012 INDIA
    Police violence against antinuclear protesters: two dead and a church profaned
    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.

    31/03/2010 INDIA
    Easter baptisms, a right and the life of the Church, Card Gracias says
    The president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India gives AsiaNews his personal Easter reflection. He invites the faithful and the clergy to promote with love and courage the Church’s mission rather than fear conversions.



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