India: Distress In Christian Community After Jesus Statue Removed Near Bengaluru

March 7, 2020

Persecution of Christians in India: there is growing fear and hatred of Christianity in India, and all too often Christians cannot rely on law enforcement and government officials for justice. Note in this story the statement of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Bangalore: “It is very sad, unfortunate and regrettable that the police is bowing under the pressure of a few outsiders and forcefully removed the statue of Lord Jesus.”

Although Christianity was brought to India by St. Thomas the Apostle, and therefore has been present on the Indian Subcontinent for nearly two thousand years, and there still exist Christian communities that St. Thomas founded, Hindu extremists claim that Christianity is an alien faith, imported from outside India and threatening to India’s traditions and culture.

The Order once again asks the government of India to move more energetically to combat the persecution of Indian Christians, and to affirm that they are full citizens of the nation and are entitled to religious freedom.

For previous coverage of the persecution of Christians in India, see here.

“Distress In Christian Community After Jesus Statue Removed Near Bengaluru,” NDTV, March 6, 2020:

The removal of a Jesus Christ statue and 14 Stations of the Cross, from a hill in Devanhalli near Bengaluru, has caused distress to members of the Christian community.

JA Kanthraj, the spokesperson of the Archdiocese of Bangalore, said the statue was on land that was allotted by the Karnataka Government as a Christian burial site.

He told NDTV: “In 2012, parishioners applied to the tahsildar, through the local priest, for a burial ground for Christians. In 2018, they followed up on the request. The tahsildar took it forward and recommended it to the Deputy Commissioner (DC), who after inquiry, sanctioned 4.2 acres land. The letter was sent to the tahsildar who forwarded it to the panchayat, which said it had no objections.”

A small hill on the site was considered Calvary, and that’s why a statue of Jesus was erected.

Mr Kantharaj said, “About 15 days ago, the tahsildar called all communities and said there had been complaints about conversion. People, however, said there was no problem and no conversion was happening. But two days ago, the tahsildar brought police and a JCB loader, and without any notice, oral or written, they removed the statue and the stations of the cross.”

The statues were not damaged and were handed over safely to the church authorities.

A complaint has been filed with the local police over the incident and the Archdiocese is considering approaching the court.

However, it seems that no official complaint against the statues was lodged.

The Archbishop of Bangalore, Most Reverend Dr Peter Machado has issued a statement, in which he says, “It is very sad, unfortunate and regrettable that the police is bowing under the pressure of a few outsiders and forcefully removed the statue of Lord Jesus. It is a blow to communal harmony and a violation of the religious freedom guaranteed to us under the Indian Constitution. If there is an instance of forceful conversion, let the government investigate and take action… But it will not bring credit to the Government and local authorities to unnecessarily interfere in the tenets and practices of Christians by coming under the pressure of some groups.”..