01/30/2019, 17.39
INDIA
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Rally for Catholic school ransacked by Hindus in Maharashtra

The silent rally took place in the city of Kolhapur, where the Holy Cross Convent High School is located. Most of the students in the school for girls are Hindu. Some 3,500 Christians from every denomination, including nuns and lay people, took part in the event.

Kolhapur (AsiaNews/Agencies) – A silent rally was held yesterday in Kolhapur (Maharashtra) to protest against anti-Christian violence without any outcry or proclamations.

About 3,500 Christians from every denomination took part in the exceptional event to mark last week’s devastating attack by Hindu radicals against a Catholic school for girls run by Holy Cross Sisters.

The gathering was also an opportunity to speak out against all attacks on Christian places of worship and religious symbols in India.

The school involved in this case is Holy Cross Convent High School. The incident took place on 22 January around 1.30 pm (local time), during class time.

Members of the Yuva Sena, the youth wing of the Shiv Sena, an ultra-nationalist Hindu party that is allied with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), stormed the school.

Sr Bharati, primary section headmistress, said that the activists broke into the school shouting slogans against the school management.

They then ransacked the office, breaking windows and damaging religious symbols, including a cross and a statue of Our Lady.

Teachers and several students looked on, powerless, as the school was ransacked; many girls were in a shock.

Mgr Thomas Dabre, archbishop of Pune, slammed the ideologically-motivated attack, noting that most students at the Catholic school are Hindu and that the school serves especially the poor.

Yesterday’s meeting started around 10.30 am in the square in front of the St Xavier's Church campus, in the Nagala Park area, near the school.

Protesters reached the office of Collector Avinash Subhedar to whom they submitted a memorandum, expressing concern over the increase in attacks against Christian schools and holy places.

The participants – sisters, laity, children, Christian leaders – marched without shouting, carrying placards and flags.

Their demands include immediate action by the administration against the guilty. Although several attackers are on the run, police now have 14 people in custody.

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