Another Catholic symbol desecrated in Kalina as community protests against demolition of century old cross

Another Catholic symbol desecrated in Kalina as community protests against demolition of century old cross
Hundreds of Catholics protested silently outside the H-West ward office in Bandra (inset: desecrated statue in Kalina). Picture Courtesy: Larson Fernandes‏

In yet another attack on a Catholic religious symbol, a statue of Jesus on the Holy Cross in Kalina was desecrated by an unidentified miscreant early Wednesday morning.

The attack comes barely three weeks after a similar incident was reported at Gaothan village in Santacruz in the midst of the Holy Week.

According to activist Godfrey Pimenta, the statue of Jesus situated near Vaibhav Stores in Kalina Big Village, Santacruz (East) was desecrated around 6:30 am today morning.

The vandals broke the top half of the statue and left the debris on the ground.

Another Catholic symbol desecrated in Kalina as community protests against demolition of century old cross 2
The statue of Jesus on the Holy Cross in Kalina that was desecrated today morning

The activist has alleged that the community’s places of worship are “being systematically targeted and vandalised” by people who are deliberately trying to hurt the the religious sentiments of Christian Community.

Over the last few months, the number of cases pertaining to vandalisation of Catholic religious symbols have grown multi-fold. Most of the cases were reported in and around areas like Bandra, Santacruz and Juhu.

In 2017 alone, three such incidents of vandalism have been reported. In the first case, a Holy Cross situated at Carter Road in Bandra was found damaged in January. In February, a Mother Mary statue in Kurla was vandalized.

Later, in April, a statue of Jesus on a Holy Cross in Santacruz was desecrated.

In the wake of such incidents, the community had asked authorities to install CCTV cameras near places of worship on priority basis to deter miscreants. However, the same is yet to be implemented.

Meanwhile, Pimenta has demanded that the perpetrators also be booked under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA), which would lead to stringent punishments.

In earlier cases, the accused have been booked under sections 295 and 427 (hurting religious sentiments and mischief causing damage) of the Indian Penal Code by the police.

Following today’s incident, an officer confirmed that they have started looking into the case.

Incidentally, hundreds of Catholics also gathered outside the H-West ward office in Bandra around 10 am today morning to protest against the demolition of a century old cross.

Many of the protesters could be seen holding banners that read “why demolish Holy Cross”, “BMC build my cross” and “we seek justice” during the silent protest.

The 122-year-old cross, which the community claims was situated on private land, was demolished by the BMC last week in accordance with the Bombay High Court order directing the civic body to remove unauthorised religious structures.

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