Ranchi (AsiaNews) – “The Indian Church has never been as strong as it is today and shall not let itself be intimidated by attacks nor shall it let its social involvement diminish,” said Card Telesphore Toppo. Speaking to AsiaNews, the cardinal, who also chairs the Bishops’ Conference of India, launched a message of hope and courage a few days after renewed attacks against Catholics.
On Monday, in a place not far from Ranchi, capital of the state if Jharkhand, Fr George Minj was beaten by unknown assailants who might have been out to kill him. He was with Sister Teresa Kindo returning home on his motorbike from prayers in a neighbouring village when he was attacked. Five people jumped out of a bush along the road they were travelling and started attacking the priest. The beating was so severe that the helmet Father George was wearing broke. Only the arrival of another vehicle forced the attackers to flee.
Sister Kindo also sustained injuries during the attack.
Despite the severity of the wounds, Father George is now out of danger but remains under observation at the Ranchi's Rajendra Institute of Medical Science.
Another local priest, Fr Telesphore Ekka, who had met the victims a little earlier in the day, noted that none of the aggressors demanded Father George or Sister Teresa give them their possessions, “neither cellphone, nor wallet.” Perhaps “they intended to kill them.”
Cardinal Toppo, who is also bishop of Ranchi, condemned the attack and called on state authorities to investigate the incident and pursue those responsible for such a “distressing” crime.
“I cannot say who committed these acts,” he told AsiaNews, “but whoever it was he is trying to stop the growth of the Church in India, which instead is getting stronger, more organised and has no intention to end its commitment to society as it has already done and does in cases of natural disasters, in health care and education.”
The prelate, who is currently visiting Rome, said that “Christians are not scared.” He does however acknowledge that “it is necessary to be prudent and put trust in the authorities that we have elected and with them find a solution to these difficulties.”