Grotto vandalism upsets Church in Arunachal Pradesh

By Matters India Reporter

Miao, March 31, 2019: The Church in Arunachal Pradesh on March 31 expressed shock and anguish over vandalism of Marian grottoes at two different places in the northeastern Indian state.

The grottoes belong to Itanagar and Miao, the two dioceses of the state. Statues of Mother Mary were found missing from both places.

The statue from the grotto at Tezu parish of Miao diocese was found missing by Father Thomas Mani, one of the priests, at 6 am when he went to light candles. The parish is some 375 km east of Itanagar, the state capital.

The other grotto is under Doimukh parish of Itanagar diocese, some 30 km northeast of Itanagar, and the vandalism was first noticed by the parish catechist.

“What has happened is shocking and unthinkable,” says Father Felix Anthony, the newly appointed spokesperson of the Catholic Church in northeastern India.

The Miao diocesan priests says both the incidents are “strikingly similar” on many counts.

“Both the grottoes were vandalized late last night and the statues were found missing early this morning. Both places are very prominent centers of Arunachal Pradesh. Both are grottoes and not a church or chapel,” Father Anthony told Matters India.

According to him, the incidents appeared “a well thought out handiwork of people who want to disturb the peaceful atmosphere in the state.”

The spokesperson expressed the hope that the administration would take necessary steps to restore the feeling of safety and security among all the people, “especially when the election is around the corner.”

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