A crucifix in Mumbai that was vandalised in December 2013 was once again attacked and desecrated on Monday, 14th July 2014 early morning and arrested a lone Catholic man instead of the real culprits, prompting Christian bodies to organize protest.
The historic crucifix, located on Swami Vivekanand Road near the Life Insurance Corporations building in Vile Parle West, a Mumbai suburb, was found by locals to have been attacked. The miscreants had hacked off the statue’s hands.
Christian groups such as Catholic Secular Forum (CSF), Maharashtra Christian Youth Forum (MCYF) and the Association of Concerned Catholics (AOCC) that jointly organized the protest noted that this was the second time the same crucifix was desecrated.
Mr. Joseph Dias, the general secretary of the Catholic Secular Forum (CSF) believes this was part of an attempt to polarize votes on communal lines with the state assembly elections just a few months away.
The police arrested Agnelo Pereira, who according to the police vandalized the crucifix on the sole witness of a drug addict and on the confession of the accused himself, ignoring pleas of Christians that many other suspects were not arrested, including the addict, the press release by the Christian bodies noted.
Meanwhile, “the Archbishop of Bombay, Cardinal Oswald Gracias, appeals to the Christian community to remain peaceful, calm and lift up the perpetrators of this crime in prayer,” the Archdiocese of Bombay stated.
“We urge the police to investigate the crime with full earnestness and to provide police protection to this sacred image.”
“Till date no updates have been provided to the Christian community at Vile Parle or to the Archdiocese of Bombay with regards to the investigation of the previous vandalisation which took place on December 15, 2013,” the archdiocese noted.
The crucifix, which was erected in 1880, is visited regularly by the faithful, who offer prayers and floral gifts, and is also generally treated with reverence by Mumbaikars of other religions.