Karnataka Hindu extremists attack a Jesuit Catholic College. Students and teachers beaten
by Nirmala Carvalho
The attack on the colleges of St. Joseph Anegal (40 km south of Bangalore) occurred on January 27. Reason for the assault, failure to display the Indian flag during celebrations for the national holiday. The extremists attack the university campus before the eyes of the police, who arrested without cause, the rector Fr. Melvin Medonca. The University is renowned for its commitment in the education of Dalits and tribals.
Bangalore (AsiaNews) - The violence against Christians in the Karanataka continues. In recent days, a mob of radical Hindu extremists stormed St Joseph's College Anegal Pu, (40 km south of Bnagalore). The radicals beat up the students and asked for the arrest of the director of the school for not having hoisted the national flag during the celebration of the Indian Republic, last January 26. The assailants belong to the Hindu movement Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal, Rashtra Sakthi Sese and Karnataka Raskshana Vedike, and even included members of Anekal City Council.
During the attack. Fr. Melvin Mendonca, director of the institute, and Fr. Anil D'Mello local superior of the Jesuits, tried to calm the crowd, which broke into the school, disrupting classes. The police were present but did nothing to stop the attackers. Students from the school had to form a shield to defend their rector, but were beaten by security agents before the extremists. To avoid accidents, the priest turned himself in to agents. Under pressure from the radicals, the police forced the priest to walk the distance to station on foot under a shower of verbal abuse, anti-Christian slogans and intimidation. Without any reason, the agents detained Fr. Melvin at the station only releasing him at 9 in the evening after nine hours of interrogation. The Director of the school is not allowed to make any statement on the aggression he suffered.
Interviewed by AsiaNews, Fr Melvin rejects the accusations and says that the flag was displayed on the campus of Jnana Jyoti, headquarters of the institute. "We respect and have regard for the national sentiment - he says - and we do not want in any way prevent the celebrations in our school. The flag was hoisted in the new seat of the university, which will commence academic activities next year. "
The Graduate Institute of St Joseph Anegal has existed for over 40 years and since 2010 has been welcoming students from poorer sections of society. To date, 378 students study in the institute, among them there are about 220 are Dalits and 60tribals.
Fr. Melvin points out that "the Hindus stormed the university not because the flag was not on display, but to prevent the education of Dalits and Tribals. "In the last year – he continues - the members of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad stormed the campus eight times and have called for the closure of the institute during the agitation organized by the Hindu leader Hanna Hazare. However, we have resisted the pressure. "
Several attacks against Christians have been recorded in recent years in the municipality of Anegal. In 2010 a Jesuit priest was stabbed while returning from a village a few kilometers from the city. In the same year a group of college students of St. Joseph were attacked by extremists. In 2011 the Anegal Catholic church was damaged with stones and offensive graffiti against Christians.