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Caretaker Arrested For Taherpur Church Vandalism

2015-07-13 23:39

Tapan Mandal being produced before ACJM court in Ranaghat. Picture by ARIJIT CHAKRABORTY

NfN NETWORK

Ranaghat, July 13: Police have arrested the elderly caretaker of the St Thomas Church of Taherpur on Sunday night for his alleged suspicious role in connection with the vandalism at the church that occurred on Thursday night.

Police said, caretaker Tapan Mandal, 70, was arrested from his home in Barasat Christian Para area on Sunday night and produced before the additional chief judicial magistrate’s court on Monday.

Mandal was charged under section 379 (theft) and 511 (attempt to steal some jewels by breaking open a box) of the IPC.

Assistant public prosecutor Pradip Prmanik said: “The court has ordered two day’s police custody for him”.

An Investigating officer said: “Mondal’s role has raised questions as there was no sign of forced entry inside the church. He is responsible for opening the church gate in morning and evening to ring church bell and to switch on and off the daily. He is also the one of the three persons who keeps the keys of the church building. However, on the day of the attack the other two persons who include the Parish priest and the teacher of the church run school were not present there. So Mondal’s role is not beyond doubt”.

“During the investigation it appeared that at least one of the miscreants was hiding inside, who either sneaked inside with help of Mondal or by exploiting his carelessness. So his role is need to be examined”

SP Nadia B.L. Meena refused to comment on the matter for sake of investigation.

Parish priest Father Satish Makal also refused to comment. He said: “I have full faith on the administration”.

However, the local Christians have rubbished the claim of the police that caretaker Mondal could be involved in theft. Infact his arrest has created anger and anguish among the Christians in Barasat village.

Sources said, Mondal joined St Thomas church in last year from Betberia church in Nadia. He was earlier served in Chapra church and Karimpur church also, where no allegation of negligence in duties or dishonesty ever rose against him, a source said.

Babu Biswas, a member of the Church’s Paris council said: “Mandal is noble person and has been doing this job of caretaker at different churches in Nadia throughout his life. His integrity is beyond doubt. We are shocked to know that police has arrested him on suspicion. Being a Christian he knows well the importance and holiness of the Tabernacle and the Eucharist. He also knew of which metal it is made off and how much valuable it could be. I don’t think that Mondal is at all behind the attack. Police has been deliberately trying to turn the attack on our religion into a case of petty theft attempt”.

Sachin Biswas, another member of the church council also echoed the same. He said: “I think the police has been trying to frame Mondal to cover up its failure to nab the real culprit. The police is actually still in dark about the real miscreants. It has arrested Mondal only save the face as it promised to solve the mystery behind the attack within 72 hours”.

John Mondal, an elderly citizen of the area said: “I am really shocked to learn that how police could slap him charges of theft when nothing was missing”.

However, police said, the tabernacle was actually theft, but later strewn outside on the pathway.

Meanwhile, the local Christians on Sunday night organized a meeting and decided to organize a protest rally condemning the attack on the church.

The members of the Christian community would walk in a silent protest rally from the St ThomasChurch compound to Taherpur police station, which will start at 4 pm. The Christians would also submit a deputation to the police station.

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