St Joseph Church vandalised in Mangalore, case registered

Amid concerns over growing attacks on vital institutions linked to the minorities, a church in Mangalore was vandalised by some unidentified persons late last night, claimed reports on Wednesday.

Mangaluru: A church was allegedly vandalised at Deralakate near here, with unidentified attackers pelting stones and breaking its windowpane.

"A small stone of the size of 1-2 centimetres was thrown at the St Joseph Vaz worship centre near Deralakatte, damaging the windowpane, but no damage has been done to the idols of Mother Mary and Infant Jesus," Mangaluru City Police Commissioner S Murugan told reporters.

Karnataka Health Minister UT Khader also visited the spot.

Murugan said the incident could have been carried out by a mischief-monger, but it could not be established immediately whether a group of people were involved.

 "We are probing the matter. For now, we only know that only one stone has been pelted. We are finding out whether there was an individual or group behind the stone pelting," he said.

A case had been registered and investigations were on, he said.

The incident might have occurred late last night or in the early hours today, Murugan said.

Breaking his silence on a spate of church attacks, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had recently said his government will not allow any religious group to incite hatred and will strongly act against any religious violence.

The Prime Minister, who has been accused by opposition and Christian groups of turning a blind eye to a string of recent attacks on five churches and a Christian school in Delhi, had said his government "gives equal respect to all religions".

Assistant Commissioner of Police Shankar Shetty, who visited the spot, told reporters that the culprits had not been identified.

The incident would be taken seriously in the wake of the series of church attacks in Delhi, he said.

Four churches were attacked in Delhi over the past few months in separate incidents. Three people were arrested on January 15, a day after a church in west Delhi was vandalised, based on footage on a CCTV camera installed inside the church premises.

Earlier in January, a minor fire was reported from a church in Rohini in West Delhi. The Christmas crib outside was charred.

Some unidentified people threw stones at Our Lady of Fatima Forane Church at Jasola in South Delhi in December and broke window panes during the evening Mass. St. Sebastian's Church, a Catholic church at Dilshad Garden in East Delhi, was burnt down in December.

According to the 2011 Census report, Christians number around 130,000 in Delhi, which is home to about 17 million.

The Christian population in India is 24 million among a total of 1.2 billion.

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