Reality hits closer home

Mumbai :  A Catholic church in New Panvel node of Navi Mumbai was vandalised early on Saturday by three unknown persons who pelted stones at it and broke a glass window. A complaint was registered at Khandeshwar police station by the trustees of the church, identified as St George Church, at 9.30 am on Saturday.

According to Assistant Commissioner of Police, (Panvel division), S Suryavanshi, the three miscreants were on a bike and pelted the stones on the church while the bike was crossing it. The incident is an alarming one, especially in light of the recent acts of vandalism against churches in Delhi and in Haryana.

The identity of the three persons has not been established yet. “After receiving the complaint, we checked the CCTV footage of the area and three men on a bike throwing the stones is very faintly visible. The incident occurred at 1.30 am on Saturday. The footage isn’t clear enough to help us establish an identity. Further investigation in the case is going on,” Suryavanshi said.

The church was built in 2007 and can accommodate over 800 people for prayer. Meanwhile, additional reinforcements were called in and security around the area has been tightened, the official said.

Meanwhile, Cardinal Baselios Cleemis, head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India said the recent attacks on churches and Christians have made many “feel that their Christian identity is being questioned”, adding that it showed that not everybody had taken seriously the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s assurance to minorities.

“There are lot of people who feel their Christian identity is being questioned. Indian Christian identity is being questioned, and it gives certain sense of sadness,” Cardinal Baselios Cleemis said.

In an interview to Karan Thapar on Headlines Today, Cleemis also described as “very painful and sad” the comments of RSS head Mohan Bhagwat that Mother Teresa’s humanitarian works were driven by her motive to convert those she served.

“It was very painful and very sad to hear about Mother Teresa whom the nation honoured with Bharat Ratna,” he said.

He did not single out any organisation over these incidents but criticised the Modi government for observing Christmas as Good Governance Day, saying good governance should be done everyday and the Christian festival should be respected.

Commenting on violence targeting Christians and churches

(To download our E-paper please click here. The publishers permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal