Hindus in India have removed a Jesus Christ statue from a Christian cemetery after the property owners received complaints.
According to CBN News, the 12-foot statue was removed March 3 from Mahima Betta cemetery in a town just 30 miles north of Bangalore, India.
"It is very sad, unfortunate and regrettable that the police, bowing to the pressure of a few outsiders, have forcefully removed the statue of Lord Jesus," Archbishop Peter Machado wrote March 4 in an article for AsiaNews.
"It is a blow to the communal harmony of the people in our villages and also a violation of the religious freedom guaranteed to us by the Indian Constitution," Machado said.
Machado told the Catholic News Agency that Christians have been visiting the statue at the cemetery for some 40 years “without any difficulty.”
“There is absolutely no problem from local people to our burials, nor our prayers and devotions on the hill,” he said.
Machado said recently, however, non-Christians from outside the community have been spreading rumors that the cemetery is being used for conversions.
"The local villagers have publicly said that the presence of Christians and their prayers are absolutely no problem for them and, this being the case, why should some outsiders come and disturb the harmony of the village?" the archbishop asked.
He added that he’s asked that the statue be reinstalled.
"The Christians of Bangalore consider the forceful removal of the statue of Lord Jesus at our legally allotted burial ground at Doddasagarahalli as unacceptable and are greatly shocked and we condemn this high-handed action of the local authorities," he told CNA.
For the past six years, India’s ruling political party, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, has struck out at minority religions in the country. India is 10th on Open Doors USA’s 2020 Watch List of the world’s top persecutors of Christians.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Israel Brum
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.