24/04/2015 10:02 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

Agra Church Attack Was The Work Of A Spurned Lover: Police Sources

Indian Christians devotees offer prayers after the St. James Church was reportedly vandalised in Bangalore on September 21, 2008. A group of unidentified people broke open the church's back door and damaged some furniture, religious books and symbols, the police said. The incident took place late on September 20 and police said they were investigating if there is any link between this attack in Bangalore and other vandalisations which rocked the state a week ago, when a number of Christian places of worship were attacked in Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Chikmagalur districts. AFP PHOTO/Dibyangshu SARKAR (Photo credit should read DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/AFP/Getty Images)

AGRA — The attack on a church in Agra was a result of unrequited love between a Muslim boy and a Christian girl, according to a newspaper report. The Times of India on Friday quoted police sources saying that Haider Ali, a Muslim youth arrested in the case of vandalism, has admitted to vandalising the church after one of its parishioners refused to return his romantic advances.

"Haider has been detained on the basis of his mobile phone location," said a senior IPS officer to TOI. "During interrogation, he confessed that he vandalized the church on April 16. The man claimed that he fell in love with a Christian girl who refused to marry him citing the difference in their faiths. He couldn't bear the rejection of his lover and decided to take revenge in this way."

The St Mary's Church in Agra Cantonment area was vandalised in the wee hours of April 16, and was earlier believed to be a case of communalism. Several such cases of attacks on churches have led to widespread fear of a deliberate campaign of violence against the Indian Christian community.

According to the TOI report, Ali has told police that he was frustrated after his romantic interest suddenly ceased going to church for the past fortnight. His anger led him to damage the statutes of Infant Jesus and Mother Mary.

Ali, who is in his mid-20s, reportedly met the girl near the church four months ago and they initially started dating each other. The girl apparently broke off their relationship soon after, saying her family wouldn't approve.

While Ali has claimed that he had carried out the violent act of vandalism alone, police have their doubts. Three other people have also been detained, who the police are questioning.

Senior Superintendent of Police Rajesh Modak said that the three others had confessed to be near the church at the time the incident had taken place, and have been unable to provide a proper explanation for their presence there.

(with PTI input)

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