Telangana’s Secunderabad cemetery desecrated: Gravestones and cross broken Continued religious tension in Telangana as Christian cemetery faces attack following assault on Dalit churchgoers

22, Feb 2024 | CJP Team

As per a news report by NewsMeter, a cemetery called the St John’s cemetery was attacked and desecrated in Secunderabad on February 21st. The graves of the Christian community were attacked and visuals from the incident show the gravestones being broken and the cross falling broken on the ground. Siasat News reported that the community leaders have called upon the state government to take preventive measures and ensure the attackers are dealt with by the police. DCP North zone Rohini Priyadarshini stated to Siasat News, “We have received a report that only one grave in the cemetery was damaged. However, we have not received any complaint so far. We are in the process of verifying details of the incident. Further action will follow.” The St John’s cemetery in Secunderabad is reportedly the region’s oldest cemetery.

This attack comes barely a week after a Hindutva mob, which had people reportedly associated with Bajrang Dal, along with local leaders from political parties such as Congress, BJP, and Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS), took out a violent assault on Dalit Christians who were conducting prayers at a local church. The incident took place on February 13 in Janwada village in Shankarpally, in the Rangareddy district of Telangana.

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The attack took place after tensions between the local Dalit Christians and members of dominant castes appeared to have escalated. The Christians were stating that the road being constructed was encroaching on the church grounds. The construction of the road was being overseen by a Congress politician, who according to reports, used casteist slurs against the people before the mob arrived, as per a report by The News Minute

The attackers who were chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram,’ desecrated the religious space and vandalised the sacred objects such as the crucifix, and also damaged chairs, and the church’s roof. The brutal attack resulted in injuries to at least 20 Dalit Christians, including two children.

Following the heinous attack on the church, the Mokila police registered an FIR after a complaint was lodged by K Balaiah, who is head of the church and was also injured in the attack. The FIR is filed against some 29 people and as of now six people, including the primary accused figures, Talari Maisaiah and Goudicharla Narsimha, have been arrested. Some of the others are reportedly absconding.  

The NewsMinute reported that the FIR details that Talari Maisah, who is a former Mandal Parishad Territorial Constituency (MPTC) member associated with the Congress Party, and Goudiicherla Narsimha, the husband of a former village sarpanch affiliated with the BRS, allegedly approached V Ravinder, the official in charge of road widening operations and had demanded for the construction of the road to extend into church compound. Meanwhile, V Ravinder who is the deputy engineer of the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) has also filed a complaint against Bajrang Dal members for attacking the church, according to Siasat News

Furthermore, Goudicherla Narsimha filed a counter complaint against five Dalit Christians who have consequently been arrested on charges of disrupting the construction, and attacking him and others. 

On February 17 Dalit Students’ Union from the University of Hyderabad took out a protest against the church attack on the Dalit Christians. 

Dalits constitute about 17 percent of Telangana’s population, according to The Quint, yet caste atrocities against Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe populations continue to persist. In the first half of 2023, the central government noted 49 cases of atrocities, including 27 murders, of Dalits and Tribals. 


Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh: 5 Dalit children beaten with sticks, with hands tied behind their back, for drinking water from a well

Dalit groom attacked, threatened, and beaten off a horse at his wedding in Gujarat

January 2024: Alarming surge in attacks targeting Dalit women


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