Vandal runs riot in 489-year-old Portuguese-built Mumbai church cemetery
MUMBAI: In a stunning incident, an unknown individual sneaked contained in the historic St Michael’s Church premises round daybreak and vandalised 18 crosses within the graveyard of the 489-year-old church, close to the Mahim station, officers of the Archdiocese of Bombay mentioned right here on Saturday.
In accordance with the church’s Parish Priest, Fr. Bernard Lancy Pinto, the incident occurred round 6 a.m. when the unidentified miscreant entered the church premises and launched into a damage-spree within the cemetery, sparking livid reactions among the many Mumbai’s Catholic neighborhood.
“A FIR has been lodged at Mahim police station and investigations have begun. The police have assured us that they may arrest the individual involved primarily based on the CCTV footage and the assertion of witnesses,” he mentioned.
He mentioned the police have promised acceptable authorized motion towards the vandal and they’ll additionally conduct a probe to test for any safety lapses.
“It’s regrettable and painful that the graves of the Catholics have been vandalised on the St Michael’s Church. The feelings of the neighborhood are deeply damage as this act not solely concerned the destruction of non secular objects but in addition disrespect for the lifeless,” mentioned an Archdiocese spokesperson this night.
“Whereas the Church appreciates the help and help of varied teams, we strictly don’t want to give this act a communal overtone. The police are investigating the incident and we stay hopeful that the perpetrator of this vicious crime might be dropped at job,” the spokesperson added.
The St. Michael’s Church is the oldest Portuguese-built church in 1534 in its former colony of isles and the then sea-trading centre generally known as ‘Bom Bahia’ (later Bombay).
127 years later in Might 1661, when Britain’s King Charles II married Princess Catherine of Braganza, the daughter of Portugal’s King John IV, ‘Bom Bahia’ was transferred to her husband as a part of her wedding ceremony dowry.
The Mahim Church is famed for its Wednesday ‘novenas’ the place folks from all religions flock to attend and pray for miracles which can be believed to happen.
The Catholic neighborhood in Mumbai and elsewhere has reacted sharply to the vandalism in Mahim Church and urged the police and authorities to take immediate motion within the matter, in addition to making certain safety for the 125-odd church buildings within the metropolis.
Many Christians – who quantity round 500,000 (or 3.30 per cent) of the town’s inhabitants – penned their sense of agony and outrage on social media posts, and recalled comparable however smaller incidents of vandalism, theft of invaluable church properties, and many others, which have occurred up to now few years in numerous elements of Mumbai towards the peace-loving neighborhood.
Saturday’s improvement got here barely a day after the BrihanMumbai Municipal Company revoked a transfer to accumulate part of the cemetery in addition to the St Peter’s Church in Bandra west, for a highway widening venture, after Catholics from Mumbai raised an outcry and intervention of some native political leaders.