Kurla village was tense Sunday after two statues of Mother Mary were found vandalised. Angry locals protested on busy roads before being persuaded by the police to calm down. The statues, one located on Father Peter Pereira Road and another inside Kurla village, were found damaged, with their glass fronts broken with paver blocks. As word spread, locals gathered around the statues and were soon joined by political parties, which were to hold their final public meetings here ahead of the BMC elections on Tuesday.
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“We banished the political parties from the area,” said advocate Vivian D’Souza, who registered a complaint at Kurla police station. He added that Kurla village remained tense until the afternoon with locals blocking traffic on LBS Road and demanding strict action against the vandals. “One statue has been completely upended,” he said, adding that heavy police presence was deployed to quell the crowd.
“No one was willing to listen to the police initially, even when the additional commissioner of police appealed for peace. A large crowd had come out to protest the desecration,” he said.
Paramjit Singh Dahiya, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Zone V, said the protesters were eventually persuaded to move away from LBS Road. “There was no violence, but a lot of people had gathered since the statues are of sentimental value,” he said. D’Souza added that a local had spotted two men on a motorbike hurling paver blocks at one of the statues at 4 am. “The man noted the licence number of the vehicle but could not get a good look at the men as they were wearing helmets,” he said.
Dahiya confirmed that the police had spoken to the eyewitness and his description of the incident could be of great help to the investigation. The Kurla police station has registered a case against two unidentified men for defiling a place of worship in order to insult a religious community and with causing damage.