Vandalization of Prayer House in Coimbatore. Police Swing into Action Only After CSF Complaint
8th June 2015 – Its been a week that the Coimbatore Police was informed that several statues of Jesus Christ, Mother Mary and St. Joseph were vandalised by unknown miscreants at a prayer house in Tamil Nadu. Garfield Jansen, who set up the prayer house on 1497 Trichy Road, stores and distributes freely religious articles has been running from pillar to post to recover the lost valuables and also punish the guilty. This in spite of the issue making the news and the police being well in the know of it.
It has been of no avail and so, a visibly disturbed Garfield Jansen came to Mumbai to meet with us at the Catholic Secular Forum (CSF), where I lost no time to get in touch with the Coimbatore Police Commissioner’s office, who directed the complaint to the Race Course Police station and within minutes, the senior inspector got in touch and assured action will promptly be taken.
The CSF has called for immediate registration of an FIR and told the police that we would follow-up unless action was taken. If nothing is done in a week, we will request you to send emails to the commissioner and other officials.
Garfield Jansen has traveled to various Catholic pilgrim center around the world and collected sacred relics, medals, statues, souveniers, mementoes, etc. which have been blessed by even Pope Francis and now laments that all had been reduced to rubble.
His 94 year-old mother who lives in the place, has had to shift residence out of fear. Theft does not seem to be the motive as the heinous manner in which the statues were desecrated – especially all heads of St. Joseph’s statue, which is why Garfield thought of coming to me – clearly indicates that stealing was not the only motive. Further, according to him, the sacred books and writings were dumped into the near-by gutter and covered with mud. Why would a robber do such a thing is what the CSF asked the police?
The prayer house is within a kilometer of the police commissioner / B4 police station and in the Coimbatore Latin diocese, with the Syro Malabar rite also operating under the diocese of Ramanathapuram, whose bishop has expressed distress.