10/01/2018, 10.29
INDIA
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Karnataka grotto to Our Lady demolished

by Nirmala Carvalho

The Christian sanctuary was built in 1970. Criminals, perhaps Hindu radicals, have installed saffron-colored idols and flags instead of the statue dedicated to Our Lady of Velankanni.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Some unknown criminals, in all likelihood radical Hindus, have demolished a grotto with the statue of Our Lady of Velankanni, Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), told AsiaNews.

The incident occurred on the night of September 27th in Kulal, near Kolnadu, in the Indian state of Karnataka. The GCIC, on behalf of its president, "condemns the incident and the growing intolerance against the Christian faith and extremism in Karnataka".

What hurts even more the religious feeling of Christians, adds Sajan K George, "is the installation of idols [Hindu] and saffron flags [the color of the nationalists, ed] all around the place where the grotto to Our Lady is found since 1970. The parish priest erected this sanctuary and dedicated the grotto to Our Lady of Valikanni. The criminals have demolished both the grotto and the statue. They also ripped off the entrance gate and took away the poor box. "

The police arrested two people - Jayarama Naika and Monappa Naika - and registered them in the register of suspects for various offenses under the Indian Penal Code. Ravikanthe Gowda, Dakshina District Police Superintendent, has suspended an agent for non-compliance.

In the meantime, a person filed a complaint stating that the grotto to Our Lady was built on disputed land. The leaders of the local Church, however, let it be known that permission to build the place of Christian worship had been granted by the owner of the land. Sajan K George concludes: "In Karnataka religion is often used as an instrument of divisionn, which wants to throw seeds of suspicion and tear the social fabric to create sectarian discord."

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