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Bengaluru church investigation points to arson

Vicky Nanjappa in Bengaluru | October 14, 2008 21:35 IST

Even as the police claim that fire at a Catholic church in Bengaluru [Images] was caused due to a short circuit, a fact finding team  has stated that the incident was a deliberate attempt at arson.

Sacred vessels, books and vestments were charred in the fire. The incident according to the church authorities occurred despite the presence of two police constables who were guarding the church.

Following the incident the Archbishop rushed a team comprising Father Adolf Washington, Public Relations Officer of the archdiocese and Father C Francis, finance officer of the archdiocese and electrician R. Joseph from the archbishop's house to investigate the reasons behind the fire.

The 3-member team spent over 6 hours at the church and after assessed that the incident was a deliberate attack by miscreants.

The parish priest assessee the loss at Rs 10 lakh which includes damaged audio equipment, musical instruments, furniture, vessels, vestments and damages to the concrete structure.

The 3-member team have rubbished the police's claim of a short circuit triggering the fire, saying that they found the electrical connectios were still functioning when a short circuit should have snapped the power supply.

The main point of electricity entering the building was not touched by any fire nor are there indications of an electrical overload or burnout. A major part of the wiring has not been charred.

In a short circuit, all inflammable material would have been burnt, but some hymn and prayer books, congos and a key board were found burnt in different parts of the church, including a set of hymn books piled up and burned about 15 feet away from the sacristy, far from any electrical point.

Candle stands, vases, books, a crucifix were among the things found strewn all across the church. The investigating team said  such objects could not move around or be displaced by a fire, unless there was an explosion. The possibility of any explosion is ruled out given the fact that the Church is very spacious and enjoys sufficient ventilation.

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