ASIA/PAKISTAN - Christian cemetery devastated by vandals: an attempt to sow terror

Saturday, 18 May 2019 religious minorities   violence   blasphemy   persecutions   terrorism  

Faisalabad (Agenzia Fides): "It is very sad to see that some people attacked our Christian cemetery, they broke crosses and damaged graves. It is an offense to our faith, our religious feelings are hurt; the guilty must be arrested": this is what Fr. James Bahadur, parish priest of St. Anthony parish in Okara told Agenzia Fides, after the desecration of a Christian cemetery on May 12. More than 30 Christian tombs were destroyed in an act of gratuitous violence against Christian symbols.
The parish priest states: "This action of vandalism has spread terror in the city and our people are afraid. It is an act carried out by fundamentalists to sow hatred among people of various faiths and to ruin the peace and harmony between the people who live in our city". And he points out: "The parish of St. Anthony and the Christian cemetery have a wall in common and the entrance to the cemetery is inside the parish".
Fr. James Bahadur, who has been serving in this parish for seven years, says that "our Christian cemetery is more than 100 years old, 6 acres wide, and the oldest tomb dates back to 1903; the cemetery also houses tombs of the English who lived in this area in this period".
The police filed the first investigation report (FIR) against unknown persons, noting the violation of art. 297 of the Criminal Code of Pakistan (PPC), for "vandalism in places of burial and vilification of religion". (AG) (Agenzia Fides, 18/5/2019)