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Vandal runs riot in 489-year-old Portuguese-built Mumbai church cemetery

Vandal runs riot in 489-year-old Portuguese-built Mumbai church cemetery

By Quaid Najmi

Mumbai, Jan 7 (SocialNews.XYZ) In a shocking incident, an unknown person sneaked inside the historic St Michael's Church premises around dawn and vandalised 18 crosses in the graveyard of the 489-year-old church, near the Mahim station, officials of the Archdiocese of Bombay said here on Saturday.


According to the church's Parish Priest, Fr. Bernard Lancy Pinto, the incident occurred around 6 a.m. when the unidentified miscreant entered the church premises and embarked on a damage-spree in the cemetery, sparking furious reactions among the Mumbai's Catholic community.

"A FIR has been lodged at Mahim police station and investigations have begun. The police have assured us that they will arrest the person concerned based on the CCTV footage and the statement of witnesses," he said.

He said the police have promised appropriate legal action against the vandal and they will also conduct a probe to check for any security lapses.

"It is regrettable and painful that the graves of the Catholics were vandalised at the St Michael's Church. The sentiments of the community are deeply hurt as this act not only involved the destruction of religious objects but also disrespect for the dead," said an Archdiocese spokesperson this evening.

"While the Church appreciates the support and assistance of various groups, we strictly do not wish to give this act a communal overtone. The police are investigating the incident and we remain hopeful that the perpetrator of this vicious crime will be brought to task," the spokesperson added.

The St. Michael's Church is the oldest Portuguese-built church in 1534 in its former colony of isles and the then sea-trading centre known as 'Bom Bahia' (later Bombay).

127 years later in May 1661, when Britain's King Charles II married Princess Catherine of Braganza, the daughter of Portugal's King John IV, 'Bom Bahia' was transferred to her husband as part of her wedding dowry.

The Mahim Church is famed for its Wednesday 'novenas' where people from all religions flock to attend and pray for miracles that are believed to take place.

The Catholic community in Mumbai and elsewhere has reacted sharply to the vandalism in Mahim Church and urged the police and government to take prompt action in the matter, besides ensuring security for the 125-odd churches in the city.

Many Christians - who number around 500,000 (or 3.30 per cent) of the city's population - penned their sense of agony and outrage on social media posts, and recalled similar but smaller incidents of vandalism, theft of valuable church properties, etc, that have occurred in the past few years in different parts of Mumbai against the peace-loving community.

Saturday's development came barely a day after the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation revoked a move to acquire a part of the cemetery besides the St Peter's Church in Bandra west, for a road widening project, after Catholics from Mumbai raised an outcry and intervention of some local political leaders.

(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at

Source: IANS

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Vandal runs riot in 489-year-old Portuguese-built Mumbai church cemetery

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