Members of Srinagar’s tiny Christian community gathered at the 120- yr-old Holy Family Catholic Church to celebrate the installation of the new bell, weighing 105kilograms(231 pounds) and for the first time in five decades, a bell rang at the largest Catholic church in the major city of India’s portion of Muslim-majority Kashmir. The church had lost its earlier bell 50 years ago in an arson attack , which the church officials believe was an attack by protestors demonstrating against the 1967 Mideast war.
As reported by ucanindia.in, Fr. Roy Matthews, parish priest, remarked that “The interfaith ceremony reflected the traditional composite culture of Kashmir, so, the message is loud and clear that we are all one, no matter whatever faith, persuasion you have, but basically we are all human beings.” Further, he added, “This is a message that every religion should make known to the world today because of the divisions and violence in the name of religion.”
Sydney Rath, a local Christian member of the church noted that the bell was not installed all these years because the community didn’t have enough resources to order a new bell after its damage and now one of the roughly 30 Christian families living in Srinagar donated the bell.