It has been five days since unidentified miscreants desecrated an idol of Mother Mary on the premises of Stella Maris School in Vadgaon Sheri in the wee hours last Wednesday. The school authorities are yet to register a police complaint, as the nuns fear retaliation by those involved in the act of vandalism.
According to the nuns, last Wednesday, when they approached the idol to offer prayers, they discovered that the idol had been defaced and its arms broken. The idol has now been restored and placed in a glass box.
“The people in the vicinity have immense respect for us and we all live together. We don’t want to accuse anyone or file any complaint. The matter should be simply forgotten like any other trivial incident,” said Sister Rita, in charge of the convent.
Though the incident has raised fears of the involvement of parents of students who might have differences with the school management, the chief nun stated that the parents have been very helpful.
“We don’t want to highlight anything negative and since the idol has been repaired, the matter should end here. Silence is always better than action,” said Sister Rita.
Sister Sunita, one of the nuns at the convent, said: “Such an immoral incident has happened for the first time in last 50 years of the school’s history. Some time in the past, a person from the neighbourhood had approached the school, asking us stop the rosary (evening prayer), as the sound would annoy him. Hence that person’s involvement in the act cannot be ruled out.”
Condemning the desecration of the idol, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Pune Thomas Dabre said that the act of vandalism had ‘badly affected’ Christian sentiments. He said that since the incident had occurred on the school’s premises, the decision to lodge a police complaint or not rested entirely with the nuns.
Local Shiv Sena corporator Sachin Bhagat assured that he would look into the matter and if required would help the school in filing a police complaint. “If necessary, I’ll also help to the local police in this matter,” said Bhagat.
Peter D’Cruz, vice-president of Pune District Congress Committee (Minority Cell), said that he had never expected this kind of incident to occur in a city like Pune. “The Constitution has given us the right to freely profess, practise and propagate religion.”