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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