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  • » 07/12/2010, 00.00

    INDIA

    Missionary forced to leave Kashmir because his schools are "too good"

    Nirmala Carvalho

    Fr. Jim Borst directed two successful educational facilities in Kashmir. For Predhuman Joseph Dhar, a Catholic convert from Hinduism, it is the result of "jealousy" on the part of Muslims who "can not compete with their schools”. Fr. Borst must leave the country, even though four months ago the government of Jammu and Kashmir renewed his visa until 2014.

    Srinagar (AsiaNews) - Fr Jim Borst, a Dutch Catholic missionary, in charge of two schools must leave Kashmir and India by the end of July after receiving notice from the government of Jammu-Kashmir.  Fr. Borst already received a similar warning in 2003, but just four months ago the government had renewed his visa until 2014.

    Fr. Borst is the only member of the Institute Mill Hill missionary in the Kashmir valley and along  with Predhuman Joseph Dhar, a Brahmin Hindu convert to Catholicism who is very close to Fr. Borst, had been working on a tranlstion of the Bible into the local Kashmir language.  The Mill Hill institute has been present in Jammu-Kashmir since 1891-92, where it has always been involved in educational and health care.

    "I'm really sorry. It is a great loss for me and the entire civil society of Kashmir. Fr. Borst has lived here since 1963", Mgr. Peter Celestine, Bishop of Jammu-Srinagar, tells AsiaNews.

    Predhuman Joseph Dhar, tells AsiaNews: "The notice is a sparked by jealous vested interests”.

    Fr. Borst has run two schools in Kashmir since 1997. Both are called "School of the Good Shepherd", one in Pulwama and the other in Shivpora, Srinagar. The Dutch Catholic priest has always been active in education and his schools, where staff is 99% Muslim, is renowned for the quality of teaching.  

    Joseph Dhar believes that this is why they want to remove Fr. Borst: "The Muslim intelligentsia schools are unable to compete with his".  Twice, in 2003 the schools of the Good Shepherd were attacked and accused of trying to convert children to Christianity.

    Previously Fr. Borst directed St. Joseph School in Baramulla and Burn Hall School in Srinagar. The educational facilities of Catholic and Protestant missionaries in Jammu-Kashmir have never had the aim of proselytism. Many Muslim personalities in position of authority were educated in these schools such as Omar Abdullah, the current head of government in Jammu-Kashmir, Farooq Abdullah, a former head of government, and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, one of the founders of Aphc (All Parties Hurriyat Conference).

    Jammu-Kashmir is a state in northern India that Pakistan has claimed for decades. In Kashmir the Christian population counts 14 thousand faithful, less than 0.0014% of the population, which is 97% Muslim.  

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    See also

    23/07/2010 INDIA
    Jammu-Kashmir, government oblivious to deportation order for Fr. Jim Borst
    Two weeks ago, Catholic missionary Fr Jim Borst was ordered to leave the country by the end of July. Archbishop Peter Celestine met Omar Abdullah, chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, who declared that he was not aware of the order. Even Samuel Vargeese, Commissioner of the Interior, said he was not informed about it. A friend of Fr Borst: "The whole thing is a mystery."

    30/03/2011 INDIA
    Deportation order for only Mill Hill missionary in Kashmir
    Fr. Jim Borst must leave the country within 7 days or he will be expelled. He has been in Kashmir for 48 years. Unfounded accusations of proselytism: the Christian population has actually dropped. Bishop of Srinagar: A loss for the entire civil society. Joseph Dhar, converted Brahmin: Accusations motivated by envy of Muslim intellectuals, whose schools are unable to compete with Catholic ones. Criticism of Congress party, which should defend minorities.

    14/09/2010 INDIA
    The fruits of "Burn the Koran": Catholic school burnt two Protestant schools targeted
    The Good Shepherd School in Pulwama targeted; attack against Christ School and Christ Mohalla School in Pooch Jammu. The Catholic school had already been targeted in 2003. Kashmir Autonomist leader defends Christians, but fundamentalism is growing in the region. The founder of the Good Shepherd, Fr Jim Borst had received a deportation order. Curfew continues in the region. All flights to and from Srinagar are suspended for three days.

    21/05/2010 INDIA
    Christian schools are patriotic and models of integration, says Cardinal Gracias
    The cardinal rejects criticism from a splinter group in Mumbai municipality, members of the nationalist Sena-BJP alliance. Nationalists accuse the schools of not to singing the anthem and of preventing the celebration of Hindu festivals and customs. Archbishop of Mumbai: we nurture “diversity and pluralism" to build the nation.

    19/08/2006 INDIA
    Jesuit school in Bihar makes impossible dream come true

    For the first time, children in remote villages have the chance to get a good education and hopes of finding secure employment. Public education is lacking or too expensive. An entire people are transforming their outlook on life.





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