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Church bell rings in Kashmir church after 5 decades

A Catholic Church in India’s Muslim-majority Kashmir state rang church bells for the first time in 50 years on Sunday. Father Roy Matthews said, “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.”

SRINAGAR, India – For the first time in five decades, a church bell rang Sunday at the largest Catholic church in the main city of India’s portion of Muslim-majority Kashmir.

Members of Srinagar’s tiny Christian community assembled at the 120-year-old Holy Family Catholic Church and celebrated the installation of the new bell, weighing 231 pounds.

The church lost its original bell 50 years ago in an arson attack. According to church officials, the church and its belfry were damaged in the attack by protesters demonstrating against the 1967 Mideast war.

The bell was badly damaged and rendered useless in the incident, said Sydney Rath, a local Christian member of the church. He said the bell was not installed all these years because “the community didn’t have enough resources to order a new bell after its damage.”

Rath said one of the roughly 30 Christian families living in Srinagar donated the bell.

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