ASIA/INDIA - An old Catholic church in Meghalaya state damaged and destroyed

Thursday, 1 September 2022

Tura (Agenzia Fides) - One of the oldest churches in the Garo Hills district, in the state of Meghalaya, in northeastern India, was destroyed by vandals. The attack has shocked the community in the town of Daram, where the church is located. As Agenzia Fides has learned, the vandals attacked some figures of Jesus, the Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph, the Child Jesus and a crucifix that was placed on the wall above the altar. As a spokesman for the local Church explains to Fides, the incident probably occurred on the night of August 22, but was only reported in the following days once the complaint was filed with the police. The delay in reporting is due to the fact that the priests of the church were not in the area and that they were attending a congress in Tura, a municipality in the West Garo Hills district. When they returned, they discovered the violence and destruction. According to the complaint, the criminals did not steal valuables, but merely destroyed the church.
The church furnishings have been destroyed and the local community cannot explain the reason or the root of this attack by unknown persons and which has deeply affected the Catholic community. According to the first investigations, it could be the work of a person with mental problems.
The Catholic Church in India has for some time been reporting the worrying increase in episodes of violence against buildings and faithful (see Fides, 31/8/2022). In the state of Meghalaya there are 2.6 million inhabitants, mostly tribal populations, including 950 thousand Catholics. (SD/PA) (Agenzia Fides, 1/9/2022)