Mary’s Statue beheaded, Catholic Church desecrated in Odisha
By Matters India Reporter
Rourkela: Statues of Mother Mary and Child Jesus have been destroyed in the diocese of Rourkela, Sundhargarh district, in the eastern Indian state of Odisha.
This was the second incident in two months in the region.
Bishop Kishor Kumar Kujur of Rourkela condemned the dastardly action and urged the law enforcement agency and other government officials to arrest the culprits involved in the cases without further delay.
“These incidents are unfortunate and uncalled for. They are carried out to polarize the community with the vested interest,” Bishop Kujur said.
Fr. Sunil Damor, SVD, Odisha Regional Secretary for Communications, said that statues were broken in Salangabahal parish and a room was set on fire in Bihabandh parish in the night of April 1 by unidentified persons. Police complaints have been lodged, but no one has been arrested as of the writing of this report.
Rourkela diocese is the most tribal (indigenous) Catholic populated diocese in Odisha having a population of 250,000 members spread over in 42 parishes. Odisha has six Catholic dioceses.
Last month on March 4, some unidentified people had demolished the grotto of Immaculate Conception in Aligonda parish of Berhampur Diocese.
Though police complaints were filed, no one has been arrested so far. Father Ajit Kumar Nayak, the parish priest of Immaculate Conception church at Aligonda, urged the public not to create any commotion over the issue. He urged Catholics and the public to maintain peace in the region with the spirit of forgiveness and an attitude of communal harmony.
For many decades off and on, Odisha has witnessed many such attacks on Christians, burning of their homes, destruction of churches and Christian religious places mostly by Hindu right-wing groups and others.
Christians of Kandhamal have faced violence since 2007. In the following year they witnessed India’s worst anti-Christian persecution in recent history.