Catholics discover a cross was allegedly vandalized on March 12 in Mumbai, the financial capital of India.
Catholics residing in the Vile Parle area of Mumbai found that a crucifix (locally referred to as 'Holy Cross' ) situated on the S. V. Road, was vandalized.
This is the latest in a series of incidents where traditional Christian roadside shrines around the city have been desecrated.
Representatives of the Catholic East Indian community in Mumbai have made a strong representation to the civic and police administration in the city.
"The minorities in this city, particularly the Christians are being subjugated to more and more harassment since their places of worship are being regularly and systematically targeted and vandalised particularly in the jurisdiction of Santacruz West Police Station," says a representation addressed to the Commissioner of Police and the Chief Minister (among others), by Godfrey Pimenta and Nicholas Almeida of the Watchdog Foundation.
"We see a definitive pattern in a series of such incidents happening in Mumbai, particularly in the areas of Santacruz (West), Juhu and Bandra (West) in Mumbai. This has been done with deliberate intentions of hurting the religious sentiments of the Christian Community," they said.
The President of Bombay East Indian Association, Ms. Tulip Brian Miranda, also signed the representation.
Repeated requests for the police to install CCTV cameras have so far fallen on deaf ears.
The last recorded attack was on May 23, 2019. A Holy Cross was desecrated at Khar, an affluent suburb of Mumbai, north of Bandra and south of Santacruz. The message ‘Jesus does not love’ was painted at the base of the Cross situated at Chuim Gaothan in Khar.
According to a 2019 report in the Free press journal, community members urged the police and civic body to install closed-circuit television cameras (CCTV) at places of worship of all faiths to curb such activities in the future.
Despite assurances from the administration, two years have passed, and the cameras have not been installed.
“We requested them to increase the patrolling in and around religious sites. We repeat and reiterate our demand that the state government should install CCTVs in and around all religious places of worship on an immediate basis,” said Godfrey, an advocate by profession who is a trustee of the Watchdog Foundation.
A spate of desecrations and vandalism took place in 2017, and as many as five incidents took place between January and May that year in the Santacruz area. One incident was reported in 2018, and another in 2019.
The vandalism of the traditional sacred structures was particularly painful when it occurred during the Lenten season, Godfrey told RVA news in a telephone conversation.
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