Mumbai: Holy Cross desecrated at Dadar West

Mar 06, 2018, 09:40 IST | Gaurav Sarkar

It was seen tilted, following which a police complaint was lodged

The cross was later restored to its position by the residents of Miramar Society
The cross was later restored to its position by the residents of Miramar Society

A century old holy cross located outside Miramar society on Cadell Road, Dadar West, was allegedly desecrated in the early hours of Monday. The incident came to light when Cyril Ferns, a resident of the area, saw the cross had tilted, around 8 AM. "It was not like this until last night," he said, speaking to mid-day. "We called Dadar police to inform them about the incident, after which two constables came and made a note of the incident at around 11 AM," he added.

Fred Castelino, 79, chairman of Miramar society, who has been living there since 1980, said, "Someone apparently hit it or something fell on it and moved it. The cross had moved from its original position when we saw it this morning. The CCTV footage doesn't show the area outside the building." He also pointed out, "This cross has been around since 1838. Such an incident hasn't happened here before, but BMC had put a notice up around 10 months back saying they were going to demolish the cross, though no action was taken."

By evening on Monday, the cross had been placed in its original position by the residents of Miramar Society. "If the cross is desecrated next time, we will have to take it into the society compound," said Castelino.

Catholic bodies write to CM
Following the incident, four catholic bodies have written to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and commissioner of police Dattatray Padsalgikar, demanding that technological surveillance be increased in and around religious sites. The letter has been written collectively by members of the Bombay Catholic Sabha, Watchdog Foundation, Save our Land (SOUL), and East Indian Association.

"There is a lot of selective targeting," said Dolphy D'Souza, ex-president of the Bombay Catholic Sabha and spokesperson for Save our Land (SOUL). "Such incidents usually add to the trouble because they target only one segment of society. Obviously it is not possible for the police to have eyes and ears all over Mumbai. So sometimes there has to be technological surveillance as well, to at least deter those behind such incidents. The frequency of such incidents seems to be rising and the pattern of selective targeting is worrisome." He added, "We are a small community and always look to the law enforcement authorities and government to protect us."

'Doesn't appear to be deliberate'
ACP Sunil Deshmukh (Dadar Police Station) said, "The cross is wooden and has decayed over the years. There are no CCTV cameras in that area, but it doesn't appear to be deliberate. But we have deployed our detection staff to find whether someone has accidentally or deliberately done this. We have made a note of the incident in our station diary. No NC or FIR has been lodged."

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