Police officials remove religious pieces from Christian burial land in Karnataka
Christian leaders in Karnataka condemn the act of police and revenue officers for removing 14 crosses and a statue of Jesus Christ from the three-decade-old burial place in Doddasagarahalli village on allegations that Christians were infringing the government land.
Church officials denied the allegations of Christians encroaching on government land or engaging in religious conversions and said that the police acted according to the right-wing Hindu groups who would have pressurized the officials to remove religious pieces from the burial land in Mahima Betta hillock.
According to Father Cyril Victor Joseph of the archdiocesan media commission, the 4.5 acre burial land has been used by Catholics for almost three decades with no objections from local people and that the land was legally given to the Church by the government.
“We have documents to prove the ownership,” he told UCA News on March 4. “It is unfortunate that officials pulled down the statue and crosses without even allowing to hear us.”
Archbishop Peter Machado of Bangalore said that “The forceful removal of the statue of Lord Jesus from our legally allotted burial ground” was “unacceptable and has greatly shocked” Christians in Karnataka.
The statue removal “is a blow to the communal harmony of the people in our villages and also a violation of the religious freedom guaranteed to us by the Indian constitution,” he added.
The Christian leader has challenged the state government to investigate the matter and see if there was even one case of religious conversion so far.
Furthermore, he has called on the state government to instruct the local authorities to reinstall the religious pieces immediately.