Christian clergyman disappears in Andhra Pradesh
Mumbai (AsiaNews) The Christian minority in Andhra Pradesh is alarmed by the news that a clergyman from an independent Church disappeared from the outskirts of Hyderabad, the capital of this southern Indian state. Christian activists suspect Hindu fundamentalists, whilst the Archbishop of Hyderabad calls for the intervention of the state, too often guilty of looking the other way.
Nothing has been heard from Rev Isaac Raju since May 24. His family went to the local police to report him as missing on the night of disappearance.
Sam Paul, national secretary of the All India Christian Council, said that someone called the previous day but without giving further details.
"We suspect Reverend Raju was kidnapped by Hindu fundamentalists and urge the police to take immediate action to trace him," he said.
This is the second case of anti-Christian violence in the last month. On May 21, the body of K. Daniel, a preacher from Kummarvadi who had gone missing two days earlier, was found on the outskirts of Hyderabad, bearing marks of acid burning.
The local Catholic Church is up in arms against anti-Christian violence in Andhra Pradesh.
"This spate of attacks is alarming," Mgr Marampudi Joji, Archbishop of Hyderabad, told AsiaNews. "The state has a duty to intervene".
"The greatest danger comes from the fact that fundamentalists are working behind the scene. On the surface, they are open and available, and give the impression of wanting to befriend the local population and of living in peace with them. In reality, they are working underground to collect information about Christians' activities so as to attack them later."
Archbishop Joji recalls similar anti-Catholic episodes in the area. "Last December, militants from the fundamentalist Bharatiya Janata Party disrupted a convention organised by the Church and went on a rampage that almost killed the local parish priest," he said.
He complained to the local authorities and police but no avail because they usually whitewash such events and not pursue the attackers.
"When the December incident happened, I rushed to see the Chief Minister, Rajshekar Reddy, to demand police protection, but to date no culprits have been apprehended," the Archbishop lamented. "What is sadder is the fact that the Chief Minister is himself a Christian".