Mangalore (Agenzia Fides) - A group of radical Hindu militants destroyed the St. Anthony's Holy Cross Center, a Catholic place of prayer and hospitality, built 40 years ago in Urandady Gudde-Panjimogaru, near the city from Magalore, in the state of Karnataka, in southern India. As Agenzia Fides learned, on February 5, members of the group "Shri Sathya Kordabbu Seva Samiti" razed the structure to the ground. Activists arrived with a bulldozer, demolishing the building that provided social services.
The St. Anthony's Holy Cross Center functioned as an asylum and reception center for disadvantaged families. About 30 local families expressed their great distress and concern over this incident and found themselves homeless.
The demolition took place without any legal justification, despite the structure having been the subject of a complaint by Hindu groups who considered it "illegal" and called for its demolition. In a specific order, the civil had issued a circular in recent days according to which no one had the right to enter the premises of the Center until a court decision, expected at a hearing scheduled for February 14.
Antony Prakash Lobo, chairman of the St. Anthony's Holy Cross Center building committee, submitted a "First Information Report" noting that "this illegal action is creating discord in a peace-loving community". "This act is against the law, it is a blatant abuse of power, in complete violation of the orders issued by the Court", he remarked.
Indian Catholics note growing reports of violence against Christian communities, structures and prayer centers across India. As reported to Fides, in another incident, which also occurred on February 5, a Protestant church was set on fire by residents of the village of Kistaram, in the state of Chhattisgarh, in central India. In 2021, more than 500 episodes of attacks on churches and Christians were reported. (SD-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 7/2/2022)