Church Allegedly Vandalised in Agra, Statues Broken

A damaged statue at St Mary's church in Agra, which was allegedly vandalised last night

Agra: A church was allegedly vandalized last night in Agra in Uttar Pradesh.

The St Mary's Church in the Agra cantonment area was allegedly broken into late last night. Statues were damaged and windows were smashed.

Father Lazarus, a priest of the church, says he discovered the alleged vandalism after he was roused from his sleep by a car alarm.

"Around 3.30 am I heard the alarm of my car. When I came out, I found all four doors of the car open and the windscreen was smashed," said the priest.

Another priest came out and found broken statues of Mother Mary and Baby Jesus, Father Lazarus told NDTV. The police are investigating the attack.

A group of people from all faiths took out a silent protest in the city against the incident.

"We appeal to both state government and the Centre to ensure the safety of minorities and send out a strong message to the anti-social elements behind these attacks," said Father Savarimuthu, spokesperson of the Delhi Archdiocese.

This is the latest in a series of attacks on churches and other Christian buildings in the last few months.  A convent in West Bengal was ransacked last month and a 72-year-old nun was raped, which triggered protests across the country.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, speaking to NDTV this week, said that most of the cases had been resolved and not one has been of the majority community attacking the minority community.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, addressing UNESCO in France this week, said that his government is committed to defending the rights and liberties of all Indians.

In February, addressing a conference organised by Christian groups in Delhi, Mr Modi had said, "My government will not allow any group belonging to majority or minority to incite hatred against others."