Two parishes attacked and shrines vandalised by Hindu extremists
Two Catholic parishes in India were subjected to “premeditated and planned” attacks on the night of Easter Sunday. The incidents took place in the diocese of Rourkela, in the state of Orissa.
The first attack occurred in the village of Bihabandh, where the parish hall, which is located next to the sacristy, was set on fire and a Marian shrine was destroyed. The second incident took place in Salangabahal, where a Marian grotto was destroyed, the statue of the Virgin Mary was stolen, and the figure of the Child Jesus was smashed to pieces.
The Bishop of Rourkela, Monsignor Kishore Kumar Kujur, said that “it was a premeditated and planned attack, and both incidents took place at the same time of night.” He added, “This nefarious act is from the same group, which is against the Christian community.”
In a letter addressed to the bishops of the state of Orissa, Archbishop Kujur stated that the attack “clearly indicates that those involved in this barbarian incident want to disturb peace in the area and are spreading hatred towards the Christian community.” He explained that such vandalism had never been seen in the diocese of Rourkela.
For his part, the Archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneshwar, Monsignor John Barwa, said that “we did not expect such an attack in a secular country. We must put an end to such episodes of desecration, which offend our religious sentiment. “
The archbishop recalled that “this year marks the tenth anniversary of the acts of violence in Kandhamal,” the district most hit by extreme Hindu violence.