|A church in Mangalore in Karnataka was vandalised last night. Photo courtesy: NDTV|
A Catholic prayer hall on the outskirts of Karnataka's coastal city of Mangaluru was vandalised by stone-throwing miscreants, police said Wednesday. A state minister said some anti-social elements were trying to "create insecurity and panic in society".
"The incident seems to have occurred late Tuesday or in the early hours of Wednesday, resulting in the St. Josep Vaz prayer hall's window panes being damaged. It is a case of mischief," Mangaluru police commissioner S. Mururgan told IANS here, about 350 km from Bengaluru.
A case has been registered against unidentified persons on a complaint filed by the parish priest.
Clarifying that the incident was not an attack on the make-shift church, the police chief said statues of Mother Mary and Infant Jesus were intact and no damage was caused to the prayer hall or any objects inside it.
"We have set up a team to investigate the case and identify the suspects, who damaged the window panes under the cover of darkness," Murugan said.
The prayer hall, adjacent to a cemetery, is located 15 km away from the city in a sparsely populated area.
"We have directed the pastor to fix lights around the prayer hall and engage a watchman to secure the place," he added.
Earlier in the day, Karnataka Health and Family Welfare Minister U.T. Khader told IANS the church was attacked here by some "anti-social elements".
The minister, who visited the site in the morning, said he hoped that the culprits will be nabbed soon.
"Some anti-social elements threw a stone and damaged the glass of a statue to create insecurity and panic in society," Khader told IANS.
The minister said the site was littered with cigarette butts that indicated that the group might have been small.
He said police were looking for the culprits and citizens have also joined the operation.
"It is between good society and bad society. All 90 percent of the good society will join against them," he said.
Khader said the church, located beside a graveyard in an isolated place, is 250 years old and was renovated some 10-15 years ago.
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