Vandals attack church in Bangalore

| September 10, 2009

BANGALORE: In a repeat of last September’s attacks, a church on the outskirts of Bangalore was damaged early on Thursday. Unidentified vandals broke two statues in the premises and damaged the glass panes of the St Francis De Sales Church.

The attack in the Hebbugodi neighbouhood came even as the Justice Somashekhar Commission was inquiring into various church attacks across the state, and ironically, held one of its sittings in the city on Thursday.

Last September, there were a series of attacks on churches in Mangalore, Bangalore, Davanagere, Kodagu and in other towns along the coast, reportedly by activists who alleged that churches were encouraging conversions to Christianity.

Thursday’s attack came to light only around 6 am, when parish priest Fr Aloysus came out of his quarters, situated behind the church, and noticed that the glasses were broken.

He called the police and other priests in the area. Later, they realised that the statues had been completely damaged. The miscreants had apparently tried to set a car parked in front of the quarters on fire, by placing some papers under it and lighting it.

The only person who was aware of the attack was Arul, a security guard with the adjacent St Francis De Sales Junior College, who was sleeping in his room. However, the miscreants locked him inside the room, before damaging the premises. The glass of the security room was also broken.

Over 350 angry followers of the church blocked the Bangalore-Hosur Road on Thursday morning, which resulted in a huge traffic pile-up. The roads were cleared after the local police intervened.

Fr Aloysus said he had not perceived any threat to the church. "We used to involve all the people in church activities and recently, had St Mary’s Fest also. After the fest was over, John, the security man, went to his home town. He was expected to return on Thursday evening," Fr Aloysus said.

However, other followers of the church described it as a well-organised attack.

Arul told the police and Fr Aloysus that he was awakened by someone locking his room from outside, between 2.30 am and 3 am. The next moment, the window glasses of his room were smashed. However, he was not aware of the damage either to the statues or window panes of the church.

"Even I didn’t hear anything in the night. The attackers have damaged two window glasses but not those facing my quarters. They seem to know the premises very well," Fr Aloysus said.

Bangalore Rural district SP Dr B A Mahesh said the police were looking into the matter. "There is a lot of work to be done on the issue and we are confident we will crack this case," he added.

Condemning the incident, home minister V S Acharya alleged that some anti-social elements were trying to create disharmony. He gave an assurance that churches in the state would be protected. Acharya said he had deputed a team of senior officials to get an on-the-spot assessment of the incident, and instructed the police to speed up the investigation.

 

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/news/city/bangalore/Vandals-attack-church-in-Bangalore/articleshow/4997040.cms

 

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Category: Church Security

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