"Whatever the reasoning behind it, burning down or desecrating a place of worship of any religion in a civilized society will settle nothing but stoking animosity."
In Madhya Pradesh, central India, Christians are expressing their anger after their church was intentionally burned down.
"We don't know when the church was burnt down," its pastor, Mahesh Kumre, told UCA News, "we had our last prayer meeting on February 5 and when we went to the church for prayer on February 12, it was found burnt from the inside".
Church torched, vandalized in Narmadapuram, Madhya Pradesh.— Ahmed Khabeer احمد خبیر (@AhmedKhabeer_) February 13, 2023
The locals who reached the place of worship to offer prayer, found burnt furniture, blackened walls due to smoke, as well as walls inscribed with Lord Ram name inside the torched church. pic.twitter.com/3Nj5QpSRw9
The Bible, prayer books, chairs, tables, fans and an offering box were burned. The Hindu lord Rama's name in Hindi was written where it originally read "Hail Jesus".
According to the pastor, a complaint has been filed. A police officer of the Itarsi sub-division claimed that efforts were underway to find the culprits.
"Whatever the reasoning behind it, burning down or desecrating a place of worship of any religion in a civilized society will settle nothing but stoking animosity," said Father Maria Stephan, head of public relations of the Catholic Church in Madhya Pradesh, before clarifying, "this seems to be part of the same campaign against us on the alleged charges of religious conversion".
According to Narmadapuram Superintendent of Police, Dr. Gurkaran Singh, it is "of an act committed because of personal grievances“Based on the initial investigation, this does not appear to be part of a larger conspiracy, but rather an act committed because of personal grievances. We have filed a complaint and have many clues and we will soon be able to catch those involved in the incident."