CSF, MCYF & AOCC get Mahim Victoria Church Chimes Back

October 12, 2012 by  
Filed under newsletter-lead

Mumbai, October 12, 2012: It’s now the Angelus bells that chime at Victoria Church that is reportedly disturbing the sensibilities of a resident, Suhas Awchat of Goa Portuguesa Bar & Restaurant, who allegedly complained to the local police station. Community groups were quick to react on receiving complaints from local residents, who missed the Angelus chimes. Representatives of the CSF, MCYF and AOCC met the priest and also the police officials and obtained an assurance from them that the Angelus chimes would be allowed.

The community groups see the complaint as mischievous and communal, as the bell chimes do not violate any law and they urged the complainant or police, if there was a proved violation, to apply the law equally to all religious places in the area. The CSF, MCYF and AOCC have said that if the harassment from Suhas Awchat did not stop, they would be compelled to conduct investigations and take-up irregularities at the bar and restaurants run by him.

The bells at the Mahim church had summoned generations of church-goers twice a day, to what is called the Angelus prayers. Earlier in October, the bells were replaced by the electronic chimes that play a 30 second hymn to call people for the prayers in the morning and evening. On Wednesday, when the chimes did not ring for the evening prayers, concerned church members met the parish priest, who said that he had been instructed by the police to stop using them.

While the priest decided to follow police orders, several church members felt that the police directive was not fair. After the intervention of the community groups, the police visited the church compound, heard the chime and allowed it. Suhas Awchat said the chimes were too loud. Church members said the bells are as old as the church, which recently celebrated its 150th jubilee. The groups have urged Christians to complain about any discrimination against the community; and The CSF has put out a helpline 09769555657 to be used in case of emergencies.

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