Police have detained two people for allegedly attacking a Catholic church, burning some pages of the Bible and defiling the communion bread used for special prayers, a police officer said on Monday. They allegedly broke into the church on Saturday night in Nadia district, 75 kilometers (45 miles) north of Calcutta, the capital of West Bengal state, said Raj Kanojia, the state inspector-general of police.
Two locals were detained on Sunday for questioning, Kanojia said. Police were looking for others involved in the attack after Antony Kariyattil , a church priest, objected to their drinking and forcibly entering the church compound, he said.
"The attackers ripped off and burned pages of the Bible and defiled the communion bread used for special prayers," Kanojia told The Associated Press.
Christians comprise 2 percent of India's more than 1 billion people. Hindu hard-liners often target them for allegedly converting Hindus to their religion by offering money and other allurements, a charge Christian leaders deny.
"Some of the local youths used to get drunk and trespass on the church compound. They also teased the girls in the village. I tried to put an end to all that and sought cooperation from local village leaders," Kariyattil told AP.
This was the second attack on the church in the region. In 2002, masked gunmen robbed villagers who had congregated for a Christmas Eve mass at a church in Maliapota, a village, in the same district. They had also allegedly taken some money from the church's vault after assaulting the priest.
"Bangiya Christiya Parisheba," an apex body of the Christian community in the state, strongly condemned the attack on the church and demanded an immediate arrest of the culprits, reports the AP. I.L.