Attack shattered psyche of faithful, says Bishop

Accused was acting, says priest; Police seek custody of accused

Former Union minister Janardhan Poojary visited St Alphonsa Catholic Church which was attacked by a miscreant in Kankanady, on Friday. DH photo

Addressing media persons at the St Alphonsa Catholic Church at Kankanady here on Friday night, he termed the act as “shameful act to Constitution of India.”

Stating that he was very much upset over the incident, he said that such an incident has been reported in the church for the first time in its 23 years of history, which has over 250 families.

Besides taking legal action against the accused, the Bishop also sought protection for the church.

‘Accused was acting’

Narrating the incident, Church Assistant Parish Priest Fr Shibi Puthiyara, an eyewitness to the incident, said that he along with some of the hostel students were in the dining hall, when a stranger entered the dining room. “Upon questioning, he ran towards the church hall and started damaging the crucifix and statue of Jesus Christ,” he said and added: “When I raised alarm to call more people, the stranger ran towards the sacristy and returned after wearing a piece of white cloth kept on the side table of the alter, after removing his clothes.”

Soon afterwards, the police were called and they took him into their custody and also seized his clothes, footwear and his wallet in which his voter ID was found.

To a query on whether the stranger was an inebriated state, Fr Shibi said that it appeared that the stranger was acting as he quickly avoided media persons when they tried to click his photographs.

Police custody

When asked, City Police Commissioner Seemanth Kumar Singh said that the police could not get much details from the accused, as he was in an inebriated state. He has been identified as Shibu alias Subbu (24), a resident of Jalligudde and a conductor by profession on Route No. 5.

“As Shibu was in an inebriated state throughout the day on Friday too, the police produced him before the magistrate at night and sought police custody for 5 to 7 days to get more details,” Singh said.

“More details such as, why did he vandalise the church and who sent him or whether he did the act on his own, will be known only through investigation,” he added.

Bishop flays

Terming the desecration of the holy monstrance and statues of Jesus as “a deplorable act,” Mangalore Diocese Bishop Rev Dr Aloysius Paul D’Souza said that when Christians live in harmony with people of other faiths, such attacks on churches and Christian institutions disturb harmony.

Calling upon people to maintain peace and harmony in such difficult times, he said though a series of attacks have taken place on churches, convents, places of worship and church properties in the past three years, no arrests were made and no action was taken against the miscreants.

Poojary flays

Former Union minister Janardhan Poojary, who visited the church this morning, also flayed the attack on church.
 
Speakeing to reporters, he said showing disrespect to any community/religion is a condemnable act and urged the government to pressurise the police to speed up the investigation and find out the real culprit. The person who was arrested for the vandalism at the Church should not be granted bail, he said.

He flayed the State government’s inaction on Somasekhar Commission report and said that if it had been accepted, these kind of incidents would not have repeated. He also urged the police commissioner to act without bending to any political pressure. The police should see that no temples, churches or mosques are attacked by anti-social elements in the district in the future.

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