Newly built church vandalized in Hyderabad

The local Hindus were behind the attack

By Jose Kavi

New Delhi: A mob attacked a newly built church eight days after it was blessed in the southern Indian city of Secunderabad.

“Everything inside the church has been destroyed,” Father Aloysius Selvakumar, parish priest of St Joseph’s Church, Moula-ali, Secuderabad, told Matters India on May 22, a day after some 100 villagers attacked the Our Lady of Fatima Church, Godumakunta, a substation.

The mob stormed the church, broke the interiors, smashed statues and wrecked the place.

The priest said the attack took place around 9 am on Sunday and the police arrested around 20 people by the evening. The police said they took into custody ten people.

According to him, the church was built on a land donated by the lone Catholic family in Godumakunta, a suburb of the twin city of Hyderabad-Secunderabad, the capital of Telangana state.

The priest also said other villagers, all Hindus, objected to the church saying there was no need for it as there was only one Catholic family in the village. The parish, however, got permission from the local village body to build the church. It has also applied for permission for a church from the Hyderabad Municipal Corporation, Father Selvakumar said.

Archbishop Thumma Bala of Hyderabad blessed the church on May 13, the feast of Our Lady of Fatima. “The church construction is not over, but we blessed it because of the feast,” the priest explained.

The parish priest termed the incident as disturbing and painful. Mass was celebrated only occasionally in the desecrated church, he added.

Archbishop Thumma Bala holding an emergency meeting
Meanwhile pictures of the church’s damaged interior were circulated in social media platforms.

“We pray for those who did it and for those who are funding and protecting them that God may give them realization of the hate and violence that is being spread by their action that will possibly destroy our country,” says a message from the archdiocese.

The church falls under the limits of Keesaragutta police station and its officials said attack was the outcome of a land dispute. According to them, the owner of the land, George Reddy, had taken permission from the authorities to build a mini-function hall but later started to construct a church, which irked the villagers.

The police said the church blessing caught the villagers unawares.

Damaged interiors of the church
“On Sunday morning, the people of the village held a meeting with their sarpanch and went to the church and ransacked it,” Keesaragutta sub-inspector M. Anantha Chary told local reporters.

“The permission for building a church on that land is pending,” he said. A case was booked against the mob under various sections of the Indian Penal Code for house trespass, causing damage, voluntarily causing hurt, criminal intimidation, giving provocation with intent to cause riot.

Roydin Roach, national coordinator of the All India Catholic Union that represents about 21 million Catholics in India, said he has approached Director General of Police Anurag Sharma regarding the church attack.

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4 thoughts on “Newly built church vandalized in Hyderabad

  1. It is a painful incident which cannot be digested by a catholic. But all we can do is pray and hope for justice A strong representation from all denomination of christian faith is needed at this hour.Pray to hope for the best to come .

  2. It is indeed a painful incident. However, nowhere it is mentioned as to which political party the village mob belonged. It appears that the incident has nothing to do with the BJP or the RSS. The crowd simply consisted of the villagers who were against the building of a Church. It is a fact that despite so much social work in education, medicine and other fields by the Missionaries, the Christians are looked at with suspicion in India. The community needs to do introspection on this. Our approach towards ‘conversion’ also needs to be debated and revised.

  3. I pray to god to forgive those who transpased against us.

    For thy is the kingdom the power and glory forever n ever Amen🙏

  4. The pain and indignation of the Christian community is understandable.Police also by nature try to dilute every crime, so a communal incident is converted into a property dispute.

    But there is also a larger question about our mission approach. If there was only one Catholic family in that place then where was the need to erect a large church building there? Jesus sent his disciples as sheep among wolves. But we tend to go as powerful lions, thereby resulting in conflict situations. We need serious introspection.

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