New Delhi (Agenzia Fides) - "It is clear that Hindu fundamentalists and anti-social elements were responsible for the shameful act on May 21, 2017, when a crowd of about 100 people attacked and devastated the prayer room of Fatima in the Archdiocese of Hyderabad": says to Fides Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, Secretary general of the Episcopal Conference of India (CBCI). The Indian bishops express concern about this gesture and demand that severe measures are taken against the perpetrators of the violence: "Archbishop Thumma Bala, at the head of the diocese in Hyderabad, along with his collaborators, offered full cooperation to the Minister of Interior of the State of Telengana, who have guaranteed a serious investigation to seek and punish the perpetrators of the crime", he adds.
The local community is shocked by the event: Archbishop Thumma Bala invites the clergy, religious and faithful of the archdiocese of Hyderabad to organize and promote spiritual activities (adoration, Holy Mass, Prayer meetings) as "restoration" for the desecration of the statues and the place.
A solemn Eucharistic adoration and a Mass celebrated by the Archbishop are to be held on May 30, while on June 2 all the churches and chapels of the area will organize a two-hour Eucharistic Adoration. The following day a special Rosary will be recited in all the parish churches of the Archdiocese. Finally on June 9 there will be a special fasting for clergy, religious and faithful.
"On behalf of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India, we say that such shameful acts are against free religious practice in our country. These gestures lack respect for our beloved country and its citizens, lovers of peace, of all communities", notes a statement by the Indian Bishops sent to Fides. "We thank the Archbishop of Hyderabad, Mgr. Bala for having faced such a delicate situation in a serene and spiritual way. We assure our prayers and proximity", reads the text.
"We appeal to our political leaders to ensure that the religious sites of all communities are protected and that the right of every citizen to worship God, according to his beliefs, is protected", concludes the bishops’ text. (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 29/5/2017)