Unidentified people on Friday damaged four statues of Mother Mary and wrapped a dog chain around one of them in an early morning vandalism at a church in Agra, the latest attack on minority-run institutions in the country.
The incident comes barely weeks after a 71-year-old nun was raped in a West Bengal convent, a case that shook the nation and triggered widespread protests.
Police said the vandals dislodged and damaged four statues of Mother Mary while putting a dog chain on one of them at the St Mary Church, located in the Pratabpura area in the city of the Taj Mahal.
“The intruders intended to hurt our religious sentiments as they placed the head of child Jesus Christ in the hand of Mother Mary and attached a dog chain to the neck,” said Father Moon Lazarus, the head priest of the church.
The persons also broke window panes of a car parked inside the church premises.
The incident occurred at around 3.30 am, according to a complaint lodged with police by Father Lazarus.
The priest said the he was awakened by the car’s alarm going off after it was damaged but the intruders managed to escape after jumping over the perimeter wall.
Church officials said members of the Christian community will hold a protest march later in the day.
Senior police officials including the senior superintendent of police Rajesh D Modak visited the church premises and assured action against the culprits.
“It seems to be handwork of someone with sick mentality… the culprits would be brought to book soon,” said Aseem Chaudhary, the Agra sadar circle officer.