19 January 2018
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  • » 01/05/2018, 14.30

    INDIA

    Madhya Pradesh, Hindu prayers in Catholic schools. Msgr. Mascarenhas: the fundamentalists will return



    Yesterday, the police dispersed about 900 members of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, who planned another raid on January 16th. After the clashes with police the Hindus "left angry". Teachers and the government support Christians. 

    Vidisha (AsiaNews) - Hindu fundamentalists who have encircled a Catholic college complex in Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh, "will return on January 16”, Msgr. Theodore Mascarenhas, general secretary of the Indian Bishops' Conference tells AsiaNews.

    He is in the Indian town, where about 900 Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (Abvp) fundamentalists gathered yesterday, who wanted to enter the Catholic institute and celebrate Hindu worship for Bharat Mata, that is "Mother India". The bishop reports that "today the crowd has dispersed, but the situation remains tense. I launch an appeal to the whole world: pray for the Christian communities here".

    The bishops' secretary reports that yesterday the Hindus, a youth wing of the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party in government), "tried to enter St. Mary's Post Graduate College by force, but they were repelled by the policemen sent by the Minister of the Interior Rajinath Singh. There have been clashes and to disperse them the police have also used sticks ". "The fundamentalists were enraged and claimed that our priests are 'antinational'."

    On learning about the highly tense situation, Msgr. Mascarenhas rushed to Vidisha "to bring comfort to the priests and nuns, who are very demoralized". Today he spoke with the teachers of the campus: "In the same enclosure there are a school and two colleges, for a total of about 300 mostly non-Christian teachers. I explained to them why we do not celebrate Hindu rites and all of them have said they agree with the college direction".

    "It is not a question of Christians or non-Christians - he underlines - but a question of the law in force in the country. We are a minority institution and a mob cannot come and dictate its rules to the administration of a school. Today the fundamentalists ask to celebrate a votive ritual, tomorrow they will impose the hunting of a teacher. We cannot leave the law in the hands of these people ".

    On the future of the small Christian community of Vidisha, about 3600 out of a total population of 10 million inhabitants, Msgr. Mascarenhas says: "We are worried, we will have to ask for government intervention again. Meanwhile, we thank the help of the federal and state administration, who have taken all the necessary measures ". Finally he launches an appeal: "I ask for a prayer for all of our small communities".

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    See also

    04/01/2018 09:41:00 INDIA
    Madhya Pradesh, Catholic school forced to celebrate Hindu rites

    The incident concerns the St. Mary's Post Graduate College in Vidisha. Hindu radicals of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad threaten retaliation. Numerous episodes of intimidation against institutions and Catholics.



    04/02/2009 INDIA
    Hindu fundamentalists vandalise Catholic school in Bophal
    Violence is triggered by trumpeted up charges against the school principal.

    26/07/2005 INDIA
    Hindu extremists slander the Church but send their children to Church-run schools
    False charges of "forced conversions" are levelled at a Catholic priest. For the local bishop, this is a plot by Hindu extremists, backed by the state government that provides the legal instruments. Behind it, there is an attempt by extremists to get free access to high-status Catholic schools.

    19/09/2008 INDIA
    Hindu radicals set fire to Jabalpur cathedral, threaten new attacks in Madhya Pradesh
    Dharm Raksha Sena groups dare parish priest to stop their action. More destruction is planned. Violence is tied to BJP election campaign. Gathering is to take place tomorrow, bringing Christians, Muslims, Sikhs and moderate Hindus together in Vijayawada (Andhra Pradesh).

    23/01/2007 INDIA
    Indian Church: rather than worship the sun, the government should deal with more pressing problems
    The archbishop of Bhopal talks to AsiaNews about the state government’s proposal to organise a mass sun worshipping ceremony. In his view there are more important issues that require attention. The Muslin community protests against what it considers an un-Islamic and unconstitutional proposal.



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