Unidentified miscreants sabotage church in Karnataka’s Periyapatna town, looting 3 donation boxes in the empty church.
A church in Karnataka’s Mysuru district was vandalized by a group of unidentified individuals two days after Christmas on Tuesday, December 27. This took place at St Mary’s Church in Periyapatna, about 85 km from Mysuru city. The perpetrators broke the back door of the church to get in and damaged a statue of Baby Jesus inside the church. They also stole some money along with the church’s offering box, the police said.
The incident took place at some point during the day when there was no one in the town’s St Mary’s church, Periyapatna police inspector B Sridhar said.
The officer said the priest, who had gone to Mysuru city a little over 50 km away after celebrating Christmas, returned on Tuesday evening and found it wrecked. Sridhar said a wooden donation box kept outside the church for offerings by devotees was also missing.
The vandalism and theft were discovered at around 7 pm on Tuesday by a staff member of the church, who instantly alerted the pastor. A complaint was filed with the Periyapatna police by Father John Paul, which said that the perpetrators had destroyed the statue of Baby Jesus placed in a crib. Police teams have been formed to track down the culprits, who are currently absconding.
The perpetrators may have entered the church knowing that Father John Paul was out of town and the caretaker was on leave, the police said.
“We are reviewing CCTV camera footage of the nearby areas to identify the individuals,” the officer said, adding that forensic experts have been able to lift some fingerprints from the spot.
Mysuru additional superintendent of police BN Nandini said this did not appear to be an attack on the church but the police investigation at this stage was probing all angles.
She said the miscreants did not touch the 10-12 idols of Jesus and Mary in the church and smashed the idol of baby Jesus while looking for money or other valuables.
“However, we are probing regarding both angles,” she added.
Mysuru superintendent of police (SP) Seema Latkar visited the church and is supervising the probe. She said the case was being investigated to identify the miscreants.
The police will review footage from CCTV cameras on the church premises to identify the individuals responsible for the incident. The Periyapatna police have registered a case under Sections 295 A (deliberate acts intended to outrage religious feelings) and 380 (theft at a dwelling house) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The incident occurred two days after Christmas. Earlier in December, members of Akhila Bharath Cristha Mahasabha had approached the Karnataka Director General and Inspector General of Police seeking police protection for peaceful celebrations of Christmas in Bengaluru. Members of the group had told TNM that the Christian community has been a target of violence since the anti-conversion law was passed by the Karnataka government.