Ambala: Jesus Christ statue vandalised at Holy Redeemer Catholic church
The 5.5-ft tall statue of Jesus Christ was near the entrance of the the historical Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Ambala Cantonment
Two men allegedly desecrated and vandalised a 5.5-ft tall statue of Jesus Christ at the historical Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Ambala Cantonment, during the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday.
The church, built in 1848 when the East India Company shifted its base from Karnal to Ambala, is one of the oldest in the region.
Police said the men entered the church premises after jumping the gates and vandalised the statue, which is near the entrance.
“The closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage at the spot shows the men entering the compound around 12:30am and by 1.40am, the statue was damaged,” said Naresh Kumar, in-charge of Ambala Cantt police station.
Father Anthony of the church said that due to the night curfew, Christmas celebrations had ended early and the gate was locked at 10:30pm.
“The miscreants damaged the decoration inside the church and also broke the glass case at the entrance to damage the holy statue of Jesus Christ (Sacred Heart Statue). This is the oldest church in Ambala and nothing of this sort has happened earlier,” he told the reporters.
In his complaint, Father Patras Mundu said, “The issue is very sensitive for the Christian community and our religious sentiments are deeply hurt. In the CCTV camera footage, it is clear that this was done intentionally.”
Ambala has a substantial population of Christians and at least four prominent churches that were built during the British rule still exist.
On Sunday evening, Bishop Ignatius Loyola Ivan Mascarenhas of diocese of Simla-Chandigarh reached the church for a special prayer meeting, after which the remains of damaged statue were collected in the presence of a large number of community members.
Additional superintendent of police (ASP) Pooja Dabla said several police teams have already inspected the crime scene to determine whether it is a miscreant activity or motivated to hurt religious sentiments.
An FIR has been lodged under Sections 295 (injuring or defiling a place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class), 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees) and 452 (house-trespass after preparation for hurt, assault or wrongful restraint) of the Indian Penal Code.
Reacting to the incident, Haryana home minister and local MLA Anil Vij told reporters in Karnal that a separate teams of CIA-1 staff, CIA-2 and Cantt SHO are probing the case and the suspects won’t be spared.