05/08/2017, 14.52

Mumbai, two Christian religious symbols desecrated in intimidating theft

Nirmala Carvalho

On 6 May the statue of Our Lady of Vailankanni was damaged and ornaments stolen. On May 3, a cross was desecrated in the Kalina district - one person arrested. Sajan K George: "Christians are an easy objective of social anti-elements."

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Two cases of the desecration of Christian religious symbols within the space of a few days near Mumbai have been denounced by activists of the Global Council of Indian Christians (Gcic). Sajan K George, president of Gcic reports that the latest episodes of intimidation against the Christian minority was a theft: "This is all cause for great concern", he tells AsiaNews.

On May 6, the statue of Our Lady of Vailankanni in the village of Ghodbunder [about 35 km from Mumbai, ndr] was damaged. Some criminals broke the glass guarding the statue and chipped the image of the Virgin in an attempt to steal the crown and jewels surrounding the statue, all false reproductions.

The Christian group reports that thieves did not realize that decorations had no economic value. "Ornaments have been stolen," the activists say, "and there are cracks near Our Lady’s head." In any case, the family to which the statue belongs, "did not want to file a complaint."

The second attempt of theft occurred on May 3 in the Kalina district, where a cross was vandalized. Sajan K George reports that "one person was arrested and the case was registered for violation of the Indian Penal Code".

All this takes place close to the demolition of a cross on a private property in Bazaar Road in Bandra (Mumbai), against which the archdiocese leaders and the local Catholic community protested with a silent march in support of freedom of worship. Not only that, the capital of Maharashtra was recently the scene of more aggressions against Christian religious symbols: in February a statue of the Virgin Mary was vandalized and decapitated; In mid-April a cross was defiled with a wreath of slippers twisted to the body of Christ.

Sajan K George comments: "These episodes are not good. Christians are an easy target for anti-social policies, which benefit from growing hostility and intolerance towards the Christian faith."

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