Church cemetery attacked, graves desecrated in Secunderabad, Telangana

(Photo: Unsplash/Lucas van Oort)

In yet another incident targeting the Christian community in Telangana, miscreants vandalised and desecrated graves at the historic St John’s cemetery in Secunderabad, stirring outrage and concern over the safety of religious minorities in the region.

The incident, which occurred on February 21, had sent shockwaves through the community. Reports indicate that miscreants targeted the Christian burial ground, shattering gravestones and leaving behind a scene of desolation. Visuals from the scene depict the aftermath of the attack, with crosses broken and gravestones defaced.

The attack came to light on February 21, after community leaders visited the cemetery and found several graves damaged with crosses broken and lying on the ground.

DCP North zone Rohini Priyadarshini, while confirming the incident to the media, revealed that initial reports suggest damage to only one grave. However, she emphasised that investigations are underway to ascertain the full extent of the desecration and determine the motives behind the attack. No complaints have been filed yet.

Community leaders have swiftly condemned the heinous act and have called upon the state government to take immediate action. Expressing grave concern, they have urged authorities to ensure the perpetrators are apprehended and brought to justice to prevent such incidents from recurring.

This incident follows a violent attack on a Methodist church in Rangareddy district on February 13, where a Hindutva mob chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram’ vandalised the Methodist church, injuring over 20 people including women and children. The attack stemmed from a disagreement over road construction near the church compound.

An FIR has been filed against 29 people including local Congress, BJP and BRS leaders for the Rangareddy attack. 6 people have been arrested so far. However, several accused are still at large. The Christian community has held protests demanding action against all perpetrators.

The back-to-back attacks on Christian institutions have caused deep concern among minority community leaders in Telangana. They have urged the state government to take preventive measures, ensure security at minority religious sites, and bring the attackers to justice.

Notably, the heritage St John’s cemetery in Secunderabad is over 200 years old and is an important burial site for the Christian community in the region. Its desecration has shocked many.

Police say they are investigating the Secunderabad incident but have not confirmed if it was communally motivated. They claim to have increased patrolling and security around churches and cemeteries in Hyderabad and Secunderabad.

However, some church authorities feel more needs to be done to curb the atmosphere of impunity and prevent further attacks. The state government is facing calls to take stern action against communal elements trying to disturb peace and social harmony in Telangana.

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