Mangaluru (DHNS): Members of the Christian community have decided to stage a protest on Sunday condemning the alleged demolition of a shrine with the Grotto of Our Lady of Velankanni at Kulalu Kuntrakala, Vittal, Bantwal taluk.
A delegation led by SDPI National Secretary Alphonso Franco met the parish priest and Christian community leaders on Saturday.
Franco said that the Grotto was constructed in 1970 but demolished recently by unidentified miscreants. “The parish priest of Kanyana had set up a small shrine on the spot 48 years ago. Devotees from three churches in and around Vittal offered candles at the shrine every Sunday,” he said.
“The miscreants not only demolished both the shrine and the Grotto, but also took away a gate and small offering box at the Grotto. This is an incident of murder of democracy.
Miscreants should be arrested immediately,” he demanded.
MLC Ivan D'Souza visited the spot and collected information from the members of the community. He said, “Demolition is a condemnable act. Legal action should be initiated against those who are behind the demolition of grotto.”
Condemning the incident and urging the government to rebuild a shrine with a Grotto of Our Lady of Velankani at the same place, special prayers will be offered at churches in Salethooru, Kanyana and Vijayadka on Sunday morning.
Later, a protest will be staged, informed Franco.
Bantwal SDPI committee also condemned the incident.
The police arrested two persons in connection with the demolition of the Grotto and erecting Koragajjana Katte with a saffron flag around it.
The arrested are Jayaram Naik and Monappa Naik.
Dakshina Kannada SP Ravikanthe Gowda suspended constable Ashok of Vittal police station, who was assigned to patrol the area and collect intelligence on incidents that would pose a threat to peace and harmony in society.
Ashok has been placed under suspension on the grounds of dereliction of duty.
The incident had taken place at Kulal near Kolnadu in Bantwal taluk on the night of September 27. Ashok as a beat police constable had failed to collect information on the row that broke out at the disputed land.
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