The crowd was composed by 100 attackers. The religious site inaugurated on May 13, on the centenary of the apparitions. The assault dictated by a land dispute. Archbishop Thumma Bala: "Deeply painful".
Hyderabad (AsiaNews) - An angry crowd of about 100 people devastated and vandalized the church of Our Lady of Fatima at Godamakunta, in the village of Keesara (in the diocese of Hyderabad). The assailants destroyed the crucifix and broken the statue of the Virgin.
The latest episode of intolerance towards the Christian minority occurred yesterday at around 9.30am (local time). The church was consecrated on May 13 by Archbishop Thumma Bala, on the day when the Universal Church celebrated the centenary of Fatima's apparitions. Speaking to AsiaNews Msgr. Bala affirms with pain: "This act of desecration, vandalism and the destruction of statues deeply wounds the religious feelings of the Catholic community. We are very upset."
The archbishop reports that the diocese will lead a "reparation service after the police have completed the investigation." Then he regretfully adds that the religious building had been blessed and inaugurated just a week ago.
Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (Gcic), denounces: "The Church has been vandalized and destroyed by anti-social elements, most likely belonging to groups of nationalist extremists." "The Gcic - he continues - is outraged by the sacrilegious destruction of about 100 people who tore down the interior of the church and all the decorations."
According to the police, the assault is motivated by a land dispute. M. Surender, village police inspector, reports that the landowner, a man named George Reddy, asked the district administration permission to build a church on a plot of 1000 square yards [about 900 sqm] , but that he still had not obtained approval.
Anantha Chary, sub-inspector, argues that building has hurt the sensitivity of local residents. Yesterday some of them gathered in front of the village's sarpanch (head) residence and from there they left for the raid. "The furious residents claimed that the landlord built the church illegally. We have denounced them for revolt. "
The case was recorded against 10 aggressors based on sections of the Indian Penal Code 448 (Domestic Violation), 427 (damage), 323 (voluntary injuries), 506 (criminal intimidation), 153 (provocation with the criminal code) Intent on causing an uprising). "The growing hostility to the Christian faith - concludes the president of Gcic - and the intolerance towards the Christian faithful is an alarm signal."