Madhya Pradesh, Catholic school forced to celebrate Hindu rites
by Nirmala Carvalho

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.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - If you do not celebrate Hindu rituals in the Catholic institute "you will have problems". This is what the Hindu radicals of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (Abvp) are threatening in Madhya Pradesh. The target of this latest episode of intimidation is St. Mary's Post Graduate College in Vidisha. Speaking to AsiaNews Msgr. Anthony Chirayath, bishop of Sagar, says: "I am worried because Hindu right-wing activists say they want to do a 'pooja' [ritual votive to the gods, ed] in our Catholic institution. In the college we do not celebrate Mass or prayers and we will not allow [that they] offer any Hindu sacred ceremony. "

The incident dates back to December 30, when a group of Abvp activists, the youth wing of the BJP [Bharatiya Janata Party, Hindu nationalist party in government - ed] came to college asking to speak with the administration. Fr Shaju Devassy, ​​the principal, reports that the Hindus wanted to force the school to carry out there and then the Bharat Mata Aarti [national personification of India as "Mother Goddess", represented by the goddess Durga dressed in an orange sari and accompanied by a lion - ed.] Faced with the refusal of Catholics, "they became furious and threatened that they would complete the ritual even by force". "We feel emotionally harassed - adds the priest - the students fear for their safety".

Msgr. Chirayath reports that the incident occurred "under the eyes of many policemen. Several priests from the diocese of Sagar went to college to support the direction with prayer ". He furthermore recalls that intimidation at the institute is "the fourth recent incident in Madhya Pradesh. The first, in September, when fundamentalists falsely accused the Church of forced conversions against 200 people. Police investigations have shown that the allegations were fabricated and groundless. Then the procession with fiery torches of the radicals on the streets of Sagar. Recently, during the Christmas period, the aggression of the seminarians and priests of Satna who were in the villages for Christmas carols. And now this incident at Vidisha College."