A church in the Rakabganj area of Agra city was found vandalised by unknown miscreants early on Thursday morning, triggering outrage among the members of the local Christian community.
Police said two idols of Jesus and one of Mother Mary, encased within glass boxes and placed in the lawn of the St Mary’s Church, were found vandalised in the wee hours. The glass case of a fourth idol was found damaged apparently by a stone, they said.
Police lodged an FIR against unidentified persons on the complaint of the church’s priest, Father Moon Lazarus. He informed the police that he came to know about the incident at around 3.30 am when he woke up on hearing some noise. The windowpanes of his car were also found damaged.
Briefing about the incident on behalf of the government, IG Traffic Deepak Ratan, told reporters in Lucknow that the FIR has been lodged under relevant sections of the IPC including Sections 295(injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class), and 153A(promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion, race etc).
According to Rakabganj police station in charge Nirmal Singh, apart from the three idols that were vandalised, the glass case of a fourth one was found broken. He said a chain tied around the neck of Mother Mary’s idol, which was found lying on the ground.
Agra SSP Modak Rajesh Rao said no robbery or theft took place during the incident. “Anything can be said only after investigations are over,” he said.
District and police officials reached the church in the morning to review security arrangements, police said.
Meanwhile, Christian community leaders in Agra demanded firm action against the culprits within 24 hours.