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ICC Note: In India, a group of unidentified individuals attacked St. George Catholic Church in New Panvel late last Friday. The brief attack took place when the group of men threw stones into the church compound in addition to destroying the glass case of Saint George’s statue. A First Information Report was filed shortly after and on March 24, 2015 four were arrested for the attack. Local authorities have stated that it was likely “personal animosity” that led to the attack rather than a communal cause.

By Vijay Singh

03/21/2015 India (Times of India) – Three unidentified men attacked the St George Catholic Church in New Panvel, Navi Mumbai in the wee hours of Saturday by hurling stones inside the church compound and damaging the glass enclosure of the statue of Saint George.

The surprise attack which lasted for just over a minute has shocked the Christian community, while their leaders have strongly condemned it by calling the incident a political mischief.

An FIR has been lodged by the parishioners at Khandeshwar police station.

The former vice chairperson of Maharashtra minorities commission and currently the president of Indian Christian Voice, Abraham Mathai, told TOI: ”As soon as I got to know about the church attack, I called up the top officials of Navi Mumbai police department. They have promised to catch the culprits at the earliest. I am shocked and saddened by today’s incident as it reflects the inability of the government to protect the minorities.”

Mathai added: ”These communal goons are emboldened by the indifference of the government at the Centre and the state, and therefore continue perpetrating such heinous crimes with impunity.”

One of the church parishioners told TOI: ”The attack took place at 1.30am when three men with faces covered with handkerchiefs came outside the church on a motorcycle and hurled stones at the statue of Saint George. We have shown the CCTV footage to the cops.”

The Church belongs to the Syro Malabar denomination, and its head is Bishop Thomas Elavanal. The building was consecrated at the spot in 2007.

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