Maharashtra, Catholic school vandalized. Msgr. Dabre: The students are almost all Hindus
by Nirmala Carvalho

Holy Cross Convent High School is located in Kolhapur. This is a women's school, where most female students are not Catholic. Archbishop of Pune: "We are grateful to the sisters for the educational apostolate".


Mumbai (AsiaNews) - As an Indian citizen, "I am very saddened by the attack on the Catholic school in Maharashtra. India is a land of peace and we should always affirm and promote peace, despite our differences", says Msgr. Thomas Dabre, Archbishop of Pune, denouncing the attack a few days ago against the Holy Cross Convent High School in Kolhapur, devastated by a group of radical Hindus. The bishop emphasizes that the school "serves people from all the communities and the Catholic students who study here are a minority".

The  female institute run by the nuns of the Holy Cross was vandalized on January 22nd. The fundamentalists of the Yuva Sena, a youth wing of the ultra-nationalist movement Shiv Sena, broke into the campus shouting slogans against the school leadership and complaining about school fees. Then they ransacked the office, destroying the windows and damaging the religious symbols, including the cross and the statue of the Virgin.

Monsignor Dabre emphasizes that "India is a great country, and there are civil and loyal means to discuss, debate and find solutions on management decisions. Violence is never one of these. Peace must always be our goal ". 

Regarding the work of the school, he says: "I am truly grateful to the Holy Cross sisters for their contribution to the construction of the nation through the educational apostolate. The school serves everyone and [education] is offered to students of all faiths without any discrimination. In classes, which include students of any religion, [foster] encounters for inter-religious harmony and dialogue. This serves to build social harmony and mutual coexistence for the good of India, our beloved homeland ".

Finally, the archbishop points out that India "is a country with many religions, where religious differences are respected and supported. We must live in peace with people of all religions and work for tolerance and harmony ".