For the fourth time in 2020, crosses were brought down in the state of Karnataka, India. In this region, as elsewhere in the country, the ruling party has made the destruction of Christian symbols one of its priority goals. The Catholic community plans to take legal action.
“A selective action carried out [by the authorities] against Christians in the current climate of religious intolerance.” The Archbishop of Bangalore, Mgr. Peter Machado, made this cutting statement speaking with Asianews, on September 29, 2020, after about fifteen crosses erected on the hill very close to the St. Joseph church, in Gerahalli (State of Karnataka), were cut down.
The desecration took place on September 23, and mobilized more than 300 police officers to secure the immediate surroundings of the hill.
The police demolished a large cross 32 meters high and 14 smaller crosses representing the Stations of the Cross.
Gerahalli, however, does not represent a great danger for the authorities: it is only a modest parish in which there are only a hundred Catholic families who wish to live their faith in peace.
Fr. Antony Britto, parish priest of the place, says he received a visit from an administrative agent on September 22, 2020. The latter informed him of the judgment rendered by the High Court, concerning the cutting down of the crosses, which began as early as the next day. Deeply indignant, the Catholic faithful began to protest, some were crying, others praying the rosary.
The authorities blame the Catholics for erecting the crosses on a pasture area; but Hindu altars were also installed in the same place, which remained intact ...
In Karnataka, as in most states of India, the grim Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is in power. Its slogan: the hindutva, or return - willingly or by force - of all Indians into the fold of the Brahmin religion. This implies the eradication of all foreign worship in the land of the Maharajas.
The parish priest of Gerahalli, however, is not discouraged: Fr. Britto is now considering taking legal action against the court decision, although there are few illusions about the outcome.
In the meantime, the priest calls on his parishioners to take up the only weapon capable of giving victory: prayer.