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Church angry at smashing of statues

Leaders give police three days to find Hindus alleged to be responsible

Church angry at smashing of statues
Bishop Devprasad Ganawa, Fr Thomas PA and the church people meeting police reporter, Indore

March 25, 2011

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Right-wing Hindu activists have destroyed Catholic statues in a central Indian diocese, according to Bishop Devprasad Ganawa of Jhabua. He said a group of Hindu fundamentalists intercepted a vehicle transporting the statues from Indore to St. Michael Church, Jhapadra and assaulted the driver and two others before breaking the statues. The Divine Word prelate said the diocese was bringing the statues from Kolkata to install at 14 Stations of the Cross at a parish church. Diocesan procurator Father P.A. Thomas said the attackers destroyed three statues, each costing 20,000 rupees (US$445). The diocese has filed a complaint at a local police station, the priest added. Father Thomas said two occupants of the vehicle came from Indore while the third had come with the statues from Kolkata. All three were wounded in the attack. “Since the victims are from outside, they could not identify the attackers,” the priest explained. The diocesan official also said Hindu radicals had created problems for the Jhapadra church even earlier. Mukesh Bhuria, a Catholic lay leader, said the incident has created anger and fear in the community. “We want the police to take stern action against the attackers and provide a peaceful atmosphere for the community in this Lent season,” he told Bishop Ganawa led a delegation of over 200 people to district police superintended R. P. Singh and submitted a memorandum. The police official “assured us to take action against the culprits,” the prelate said and added the Christians have given the police three days to fulfil their promise. “If they fail, the Church people will launch massive protest,” said Bishop Ganawa. Jhabua diocese has over 30,000 Catholics in 28 parishes and mission stations. The diocese has witnessed several incidents of attack on Christian institutions and Church workers in the past. Four nuns were gang raped in 1998. IC13762.1646
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