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  • » 08/24/2004, 00.00


    Priest seriously injured in attack against Catholic Church

    Mumbai (AsiaNews) – Last Sunday night a gang of armed men attacked a Catholic parish church in the city of Kubbu in the Lohardaga district of eastern Indian State of Jharkhand. Both parish priest and vicar were injured and admitted to hospital with the latter suffering serious knife wounds.

    The dozen or so attackers, age ranging from 25 to 55, struck under the cover of darkness. They entered the church building armed with hatchets, swords, and knives. They eventually made their escape but not before ransacking the parochial house and emptying the church's moneyboxes. The police did arrive at the crime scene a while later but has not so far found any clue as to the attackers' identity. It has however posted two sentries to guard the church against any further danger.

    Mgr. Michael Minj, Bishop of Gumla (another district in Jharkhand State) told AsiaNews that "the attack has shaken locals. The fact that the attackers were armed means that their act was premeditated."

    The pro-Hindu fundamentalism Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is in power in Jharkhand State, a State with a large Adivasi (tribal) population. The Church has for a long time been committed to empowering the Adivasis through education and development programmes, but in doing so it has caused a backlash among Hindu fundamentalists who see the Church's action as proselytising. Organisations like the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (National Volunteer Corps) and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council), which are even more extremist than the BJP, are prominent in the State.

    "Attacks against Christian institutions like the one that occurred on Sunday are worrying," Bishop Minj said. By contrast, local law enforcement authorities were quick to dismiss the attack as a simple case of robbery, and no further investigation seems to be planned since the attackers got away. For his part Bishop Minj is waiting for "the return of Cardinal Toppo, Archbishop of Ranchi (Jharkhand's State capital), who is now in South Korea attending the Assembly of Asian Bishops, before the case is taken up with State authorities." (NC)

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    See also

    09/03/2005 INDIA
    Falsely accused priest arrested in Gujarat
    Hindu fundamentalists persuade a woman to press charges against a Jesuit priest. Two months ago the same woman had cleared him of the same charges.

    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).

    09/06/2005 INDIA
    India: the BJP turns down Advani's resignation

    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.

    12/07/2005 INDIA
    Hindu nationalists claim to have rescued 80 Christian clergymen
    The incident is reported in a weekly paper published by a Hindu fundamentalist paramilitary group. It remains unverified and highly suspect.

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