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Three Christian Places of Worship Attacked in Kerala

Wednesday, April 18, 2018, 16:14 (IST)

Three attacks against Christian places of worship have been reported in Kerala in the last two weeks. Sajan K. George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), condemned those responsible for these acts of vandalism.

The most recent incident took place on April 16, when some unidentified assailants entered the cemetery of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ in Ukkinadka, in the district of Kasaragod, and destroyed the cross that stood in the burial place. Then the assailants damaged another seven tombs.

In another incident on April 10, the Logos Pastoral Center in the diocese of Neyyattinkara was vandalized. The vandals threw stones at the building, shattered windows and entrance doors.

At the time of the attack, there were about 150 students of the 12th class, accompanied by a priest and two nuns, attending a retreat.

The earliest attack occurred on April 1 when a mob stopped Fr M.K. Varghese, vicar of St Greogrios of Punnamoodu church in the district of Alappuzha, from entering the church at late night and insulted him verbally. Having heard the commotion, the church officials managed to save the priest.

George reported in a statement, "The villains vandalized the church hall, broke windows and kicked down the door. The police arrested three people, who justified themselves by claiming that [the vicar] wanted to buy land for the cemetery. "

He added that "the surge in hostile acts and intolerance towards Christians is alarming. Although it appears that the attacks are not directed specifically against the faith, there is a certain intolerance towards everything that is related to Christians. This is harmful for the democratic and secular India, while the social fabric of our country is damaged by insensitive comments or provocative statements, false and without foundation against the missionary work of Christians. We see the consequences in these April incidents."

The minority Christian community is an easy target for extremist forces in the country, he added.