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Attack on Church building and Christians in Amritsar, Punjab

Evangelical Fellowship of India (09/18/06) – The 200-year-old St. Paul ’s Church in Amritsar , Punjab was vandalized on the night of September 13th by unknown persons.

Uday Singh, the priest of the Church stated that some unscrupulous persons had entered the Church and indulged in an act of sacrilege of historic and religious items, including the holy book in a complaint made to the SSP. It is suspected that some people (not Christians) unauthorizedly living in the Church premises may have committed the crime. However, even they could not have dared to vandalize the Church without outside support.

On Saturday, Sept. 16th, Bishop Samantaroy led a delegation to meet the SSP and urged him to speed up the enquiry process and to take steps to recover the stolen items which include the altar cross. The police thus far have registered an F.I.R. and have arrested seven persons, with some still absconding. The police investigation has not yielded substantial results yet. The members of the Christian Community in Punjab are growing restless about the slow progress of the investigation and non-recovery of the stolen articles.

When the Evangelical Fellowship of India spoke to Bishop Samantaroy today, he stated that though the seven are still arrested, what is of concern is that they are not being presented before the court. Bishop Samantaroy expressed that “he would not be surprised if these attacks are being perpetrated by people who want to break the unity, peace and harmony in Amritsar .” He also commented that “the Church in Punjab has been enjoying a time of growth and solidarity in recent times.”

We urge the churches everywhere to pray for the Christian community in Amritsar , Punjab . We also urge you to write to the below mentioned requesting urgent action to bring the perpetrators of such incidents to task.

The Governor of Punjab Chief Minister of Punjab

General (Retd.) S.F. Rodrigues Shri Amarinder Singh

Raj Bhawan, Chandigarh , 160009 Gov’t. of Punjab

Fax: 0172-274-1058 Civit Sectt., Chandigarh , 160009

Office: 0172-274-0740 Ph: 0172-274-0325, 0172-274-0769

Director General of Police (DG) Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP)

Shri S.S. Virk, IPS S.S. Srivastava, IPS,

Punjab Police headquarters, Police Headquarters,

Sector 9, Chandigarh , 160009 Amritsar , 143102, Punjab

Ph: 0172-274-3272, Ph. 0183-222-7779

0172-274-3772 Email:ssp.amritsar@punjabmail.gov.in

Email: dgp@punjabmail.gov.in

The following is a sample letter:

Director General of Police (DG)

Shri S.S. Virk, IPS

Punjab Police headquarters,

Sector 9, Chandigarh , 160009

Ph: 0172-274-3272, 0172-274-3772

Email: dgp@punjabmail.gov.in

Honorable Sir,

This letter is in regards to the vandalisation of St. Paul ’s Church that took place in Amritsar on Sept. 13th. We would like to express our deepest concern over this issue since this kind of an incident is shocking. On recent enquiry, the stolen items of the Church have not yet been recovered. We also urge the Police officials to do all that is required to put the perpetrators to task.

Incidents such as these tear into the secular fabric of our society and damage communal harmony. It is imperative that the Police Force provide protection to Christians and Christian organizations as Punjab has recently seen mounting atrocities against Christians.

Thank you,