Two men allegedly desecrated and vandalized a 5.5-foot-tall statue of Jesus Christ in the historic Catholic Church of the Holy Redeemer in Ambala Township, overnight Saturday and Sunday.
The church, built in 1848 when the East India Company moved its base from Karnal to Ambala, is one of the oldest in the region.
Police said the men entered the church premises after having jumped the doors and vandalized the statue, which stands near the entrance.
“Closed circuit television (CCTV) footage on site shows the men entering the compound at around 12:30 a.m. and at 1:40 a.m. the statue was damaged,” said Naresh Kumar, head of the Ambala police station. Cantt.
Father Anthony of the church said due to the nighttime curfew Christmas celebrations ended early and the door was closed at 10:30 p.m.
“The disbelievers damaged the decoration inside the church and also broke the window at the entrance to damage the holy statue of Jesus Christ (Statue of the Sacred Heart). It is the oldest church in Ambala and nothing like this has happened before, ”he told reporters.
In his complaint, Father Patras Mundu said: “The issue is very sensitive for the Christian community and our religious feelings are deeply hurt. In the CCTV camera footage it is clear that this was done intentionally. “
Ambala has a large population of Christians and at least four important churches that were built during British rule still exist.
On Sunday evening, Bishop Ignatius Loyola Ivan Mascarenhas of the Diocese of Simla-Chandigarh arrived at the church for a special prayer meeting, after which the remains of the damaged statue were collected in the presence of a large number of members of the community.
Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP) Pooja Dabla said several police teams had already inspected the crime scene to determine whether it was malicious activity or motivated to hurt religious feelings.
An FIR was filed under Sections 295 (wounding or defiling a place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class), 427 (mischief causing damage in the amount of fifty rupees) and 452 (home violation after preparation for harm, assault or undue hardship) of the Indian Penal Code.
Reacting to the incident, Haryana Home Secretary and local MP Anil Vij told reporters in Karnal that separate teams of CIA-1, CIA-2 and Cantt SHO personnel were investigating the case and that the suspects would not be spared.