Special police team to probe vandalism at two churches
- Special police team to probe vandalism at two churches
All-community peace rally taken out at Nedumbassery
ANGAMALY: The police have set up a special investigation team to nab those behind the vandalism of two churches at Akapparambu at Nedumbassery grama panchayat on Sunday morning. Aluva Deputy Superintendent of Police P.N. Unniraja is heading the team. The police are probing various angles, including religious extremist groups. Inspector-General of Police (Ernakulam range) Vinson Paul and Ernakulam Rural SP P. Vijayan visited the churches within a few hours of the attack.
Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, who visited the churches around noon, said the government would take all efforts to nab the culprits. �We will not allow any force to upset the communal harmony of the State,� he said.
In the evening, an all-party, all-community peace rally was taken out in Nedumbassery. Senior functionaries of the Syro-Malabar Church and Jacobite Church, leaders of Hindu and Muslim organisations as well as politicians took part in the rally. The Jacobite Church�s Catholicos Baselios Thomas I and the Syro-Malabar Church�s Bishop Thomas Chakiath led the rally along with Fisheries Minister S. Sarma and United Democratic Front (UDF) convener P.P. Thankachan. P.C. Thomas and Lonappan Nambadan, MPs; the former Minister T.U. Kuruvilla; and Collector M. Beena were also present.
Mr. Sarma was the first government leader to arrive at the church. He held meetings with church functionaries and the police. At a meeting held at the Mar Sabore Afroth Cathedral church hall, Mr. Sarma called upon the people to be vigilant against any move to upset communal harmony. The vicars of the two churches told the meeting that the vandals could have struck between midnight and 5 a.m.
It was the cleaning employee at the cathedral who first noticed that the holy chamber in which the sandalwood cot of St. Paulose Mar Athanasius Valiya Thirumentni was kept was damaged.
The five window glasses of the chamber, which is located adjacent to the `madbaha� (altar), were smashed, though the palanquin kept outside the chamber was left untouched. A Christ statue in the cemetery of the St. Gervasis and Prothasis Church has been damaged.
The Kerala Catholic Bishops� Council (KCBC) has termed the attack on churches at Nedumbassery isolated acts of violence by anti-social elements.
A spokesman for the KCBC condemned the attacks and described them as unbecoming of people of India.
�These attacks do not suit the great culture of our country and the great religious harmony in Kerala,� said the spokesman.
He said that the church did not see in these incidents a continuation of the violence against Christians in Orissa and Karnataka.
�These isolated acts are carried out by those trying to take advantage of the particular situation,� he added.
The UDF condemned the attacks on the churches. Convener P.P. Thankachan said in a statement here that the attacks were carried out by forces bent on creating communal disharmony.
State general secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party A.N. Radhakrishnan condemned the attacks. A statement from Mr. Radhakrishnan said that the incidents were aimed at creating disharmony.