A church in Taherpur – not far from the Ranaghat convent school where robbers had struck terror in March this year – was raided again last night and some articles from inside were removed and damaged. But the robbers reportedly failed to take away anything except moving out the tabernacle that preserved the statue of Jesus. They smashed the tabernacle.
A senior police official of Ranaghat said that “it was an abortive attempt to steal away valuables from the church. The police are investigating and the case is a bit intriguing as the entry of the robbers remains a mystery. A skylight inside the church which was at a great height and was found broken. But it is not possible to gain entry or exit through that height, the police official said. The doors and windows were however in tact.
The police are also looking into the possibility if anyone had sneaked inside the church during the day time and tried to carry out the operation at night. For some reasons the gang members escaped breaking the tabernacle which golden in colour. It could be that the golden colour had attracted the gang who thought it to be made of gold and when they found it was just a coat of paint the gang smashed it and left.
Like the Ranaghat school, this church too had got a fresh coat of paint several months back. The police suspect that the robbers gang might have been tipped off by the paint workers that the tabernacle could be of gold, the police said.
Taherpur is about 10 km from the Ranaghat convent school in which a similar robber gang had raided in March and vandalized the school and had severely assulted the nuns. The Ranagaht case investigation revealed that a robber gang had come across the Bangladesh border and operated there with the help of local contacts who had worked as paint workers at the school. About six members of the gang have been arrested so far and chargesheeted, most of them from different parts of Bangladesh.
In the Taherpur case too, the gang was believed to have come from across the border in Bangladesh. Father Satish, Priest of the church said that he was away in Bandel on some work and this morning, some sisters who stayed in the church premises informed him. An FIR has been lodged with the police, Father Satish said.
“Within five months of the Ranaghat rape and robbery incident this is another attack on a church. We are really terrified. The raiders had taken out the tabernacle which weighs about 8 to 10 kgs and was of golden colour and within this the statue of Jesus was preserved. So, it is the holiest of all to us,” the Father said. “It has been desecrated as well as it was a robbery attempt,” he added.
The Taherpur church is over 50 years old and falls under the diocese of the Bishop of Krishnagar. The Police meanwhile, have visited the church several times since morning but no arrest could be made till now.