Hindu extremists threaten two churches in the Delhi archdiocese
Recently established communities in the Gurugram district are being targeted. The demonstrations by movements linked to the BJP just as the Home Minister in a meeting in Kochi assured "attention" to the president of the Episcopal Conference, Msgr Thazhath.
New Delhi (AsiaNews) - Some Hindu nationalist right-wing groups are threatening two churches in as many missions in the archdiocese of Delhi. That is, the same local Church whose cathedral Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited last Easter.
The latest incident took place on Sunday, 4 June in the church of the St Joseph Vaz Catholic mission in Kherki Daula, in the Gurugram district (Gurgaon). According to a report to the website MattersIndia by archdiocesan spokesman Shashi Dharan, immediately after the 10 a.m. English service, a group of 20-25 people arrived at the church wearing saffron-coloured scarves and carrying tridents and swords on bicycles and cars and threatened the priest and two Catholics who were talking to him. The priest was also beaten up. The extremists gave two weeks to close the church.
The church, opened in 2021 on rented land near Manesar, an industrial hub in Haryana about 60 km south of New Delhi, serves about 40 Hindi-speaking and 25 English-speaking Catholic families. Dharan said that the owner of the church property asked the archdiocese to vacate the place because it was threatened by Hindu radicals.
Already a few days earlier, a team from the archdiocese had gone to Farrukh Nagar, another village in Gurugram district, after the police station officer had asked them to go there to discuss a complaint filed by some village leaders about a church built there in 2020 to serve seven Catholic families.
The chiefs of five villages showed up and questioned the Church team about the need to build a church there. Meanwhile, about 300 people belonging to Hindu nationalist right-wing groups showed up at the police station.
And it was in this climate - fraught with tensions from Manipur to Madhya Pradesh to Hariyana - that Archbishop Andrews Thazhath, Archbishop of Trichur and President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI), met with India's Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday in Kochi, Kerala.
The meeting was cordial and lasted about half an hour. A CBCI note reported the archbishop expressed the anxieties of Christians in India in the face of the challenges and problems they are facing in some parts of the country, citing in particular the attacks in Manipur.
The Home Minister responded by outlining the results of the mission in Imphal, assuring his efforts for peace. When Bishop Thazhath cited some concrete incidents such as the continuous intimidation of schools in Madhya Pradesh, he replied that he will look into the matter and do what is necessary for the good of the country.
(Nirmala Carvalho collaborated)