Century-old Cross in Mumbai damaged, police down plays incident

March 8, 2018 by  
Filed under India, newsletter-india

Mumbai, March 7, 2018: A century-old Holy Cross outside the Miramar Society in Dadar West in Central Mumbai was allegedly desecrated in the early hours of Mar 5, reported Mid-Day.

The incident came to light when Cyril Ferns, a resident of the area, saw the cross had tilted, around 8 AM. “It was not like this until last night,” he told Mid-day. Dadar police was informed. “Two constables came and made a note of the incident at around 11 AM,” he added.

Fred Castelino, 79, chairman of Miramar society, who has been living there since 1980, said, “Someone apparently hit it or something fell on it and moved it. The cross had moved from its original position when we saw it this morning. The CCTV footage doesn’t show the area outside the building.”

He also pointed out the cross has been around since 1838. “Such an incident hasn’t happened here before, but BMC had put a notice up around 10 months back saying they were going to demolish the cross, though no action was taken.”

By evening on Monday, the cross had been placed in its original position by the residents of Miramar Society. “If the cross is desecrated next time, we will have to take it into the society compound,” said Castelino.

The incident sparked outrage with four Catholic bodies writing to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and commissioner of police Dattatray Padsalgikar demanding that security be increased in and around religious sites.

The signatories included the Bombay Catholic Sabha, Watchdog Foundation, Save our Land (SOUL) and the East Indian Association.

Dolphy D’Souza, ex-president of the Bombay Catholic Sabha and spokesperson of SOUL, said that since cops couldn’t be around everywhere, and “there has to be technological surveillance” to deter such incidents. “The frequency of such incidents seems to be rising and the pattern of selective targeting is worrisome. We are a small community and always look to the law enforcement authorities and government to protect us.”

Dadar Police Station ACP Sunil Deshmukh, however, said that the cross is wooden and ‘has decayed over the years’ adding: “There are no CCTV cameras in that area, but it doesn’t appear to be deliberate. But we have deployed our detection staff to find whether someone has accidentally or deliberately done this. We have made a note of the incident in our station diary. No NC or FIR has been lodged.”

– mid-day

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