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Renowned church of Gonsalo Garcia vandalised in Vasai | Mumbai News – Times of India



MUMBAI: Unknown miscreants vandalised the St Gonsalo Garcia Church in Vasai Friday afternoon, causing anger and upset within the community.

Fr Peter Almeida, parish priest said, “We were upstairs at the time and did not realise what had happened until we came into the church at 5.30 pm. The books were scattered about, an artwork on the altar was destroyed, and some statues had been displaced and kept on the floor. We lodged an NC with Vasai police station who have assured they will scan CCTV footage in the surrounding areas.” The church has not installed CCTV but plans to do so now.
Senior inspector of Manickpur Ranjit Andhale said, “The viral messages that are circulating are untrue. There was some incident but we are investigating. The absence of CCTV within the church premises is proving a hurdle.”

Fr Richard Dabre, secretary to the archbishop, issued a statement saying, “Some minor damage was done to a statue. The church has been restored to its former state. The authorities have taken cognisance and the parishioners have shown immense restraint to keep peace. Regular masses will resume from Saturday morning.”
Nicholas Almeida and Godfrey Pimenta of Watchdog Foundation, advisors Vivian D’Souza and Rita D’Sa, and Tulip Miranda, president of the Bombay East Indian Association, condemned the incident. “We are deeply disappointed and anguished and condemn the vandalism targeting the statue of St Gonsalo Garcia in Vasai. Mother Mary’s statue, the baptismal font, angel’s statue are vandalised. St Gonsalo Garcia is not only a revered figure in the Christian faith but also a symbol of unity among different cultures and religious beliefs. We must ensure that those responsible are held accountable for their deeds,” they wrote.
Local residents say that a week ago August 6, a pastor from Dhanivbagh, Nallasopara East was beaten up by anti-social elements during worship. They claim around 12 to 15 people forced their way in and started destroying church property and beating people. “An FIR is registered in Pelhar police station. The pastor is not able to walk and is admitted to hospital in Vasai East,” said a parishioner.



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