In the south Indian state of Karnataka, the Catholic community in Mangalore are in anguish as right-wing Hindu activists allegedly razed to ground a 40-year-old St. Antony’s Holy Cross prayer centre in the Urandady Gudde-Panjimogaru on February 5.
St Antony’s Holy Cross Prayer Centre was also serving as Anganawadi (government-kindergarten centre) in Urandady Gudde-Panjimogaru, around four kilometers from Mangaluru (formally known as Mangalore).
It is alleged that Saffron (Hindu) activists belonging to Shri Sathya Kordabbu Seva Samiti demolished the structure in defiance of the Court Order, reported Mangalorean.com.
Around 30 families residing in Urandady Gudde-Panjimogaru are disturbed as the prayer centre is razed to the ground.
The news portal reported that the Christian minority members are in anguish and vows to “fight until justice is served.”
Despite a court stay order, the activists came around 11:00 am on February 5, with a bulldozer to raze down the religious and social service centre.
The next court hearing is scheduled for February 14.
Dr. K V Rajendra, DK Deputy Commissioner, had issued a circular that no one has the right to enter the St Antony’s Holy Cross premises until the Court case delivers a verdict.
Antony Prakash Lobo, the President of St. Antony’s Holy Cross Building Committee, along with other members, Cyprian D’Souza, Francis Pinto and Valerian Lobo, have filed a complaint seeking police action. In the police complaint, the committee noted that this incident is creating disharmony in a peace-loving community.
But unfortunately, in defiance, the activists have forcibly entered the premises and demolished the building, including trees, etc.
Prayer Centre board members termed the act an “illegal and high-handed action of influence or political power.”
“This act is against the law, misuse of power and utter violation of clear orders passed by the Court. We will immediately approach the concerned authorities demanding high-level judicial inquiry and action against the guilty offenders of this cruel act,” said one of the board members.
It is alleged that the demolition was undertaken “without any legal justification.”
Former MLA J R Lobo, Public Relations Officer (PRO) of Mangaluru Diocese Roy Castelino, ACP North Mahesh Kumar, community leaders Stany Alvares, Lawrence D’Souza and others visited the spot.
There are increasing reports of atrocities against Christian, Catholic communities, and prayer centres across India by Hindu-right wing groups.
It is estimated that over 500 attacks were reported in India against Christians in 2021.
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