An Indian Catholic archbishop is pleading for the southern provincial government to protect Christians, their places of worship and sacred structures.
The February 15th demolition of a statue of Jesus and Stations of the Cross at Gokunte in Kolar district of Karnataka state has not only affected the sentiments of the Christian community but also the people of other faiths
That’s according to Archbishop Peter Machado
He said it was heartbreaking to see hundreds of people shedding tears at the demolition.
However, government officials have defended the destruction of the statue of Jesus, claiming that the statue was encroaching on government land.
Church leaders however said it was in possession of St. Francis Xavier Church for close to three decades.
A dispute over the possession of the land was pending in Karnataka High Court but officials went ahead with the demolition even before the court could pass a final order.
The archdiocese had also filed a petition in the high court challenging the demolition of the Christian structures on Feb. 10.
Archbishop Machado said there have been such “demolitions occurring at six such places on the hills and systematic attacks on churches across the state.”
These religious places were patronized and maintained as places of devotion in Bangalore and its surroundings for decades, he said.
Archbishop Machado hoped and prayed that the government will protect Christian places of worship, religious symbols and sacred structures.
This hasn’t been the first time Christians in India have been disenfranchised and marginalized for their faith.
In December 2021 Christians were mid-hymn when a mob kicked in the door of the Sat Prakashan Sanchar Kendra Christian center.
Photo Credit: DH Photo