01/16/2018, 12.07
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Madhya Pradesh, Hindu prayers in Catholic schools: a nationalist leader arrested (Video)

by Nirmala Carvalho

Upadhesh Rana is the head of the Vishwa Sanathan Sangh. The St. Mary Post Graduate College defended by more than 500 policemen. The St. Paul Convent School in the district of Ratlam attacked and vandalized by members of the Shri Rajput Karni Sena.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Upadhesh Rana, a Hindu fundamentalist leader who wanted to enter a Catholic school and to hold the Hindu rite for Bharat Mata ["Mother India", ed.] has been arrested in Vidisha (in Madhya Pradesh).

Yesterday more than 500 policemen were deployed in defense of St. Mary's Post Graduate College, threatened by nationalists. Fr. Mary Stephen, head of public relations in the Madhya Pradesh region, through AsiaNews asks for "support in prayer".

The school complex was encircled yesterday by the extremists of the Vishwa Sanathan Sangh, of which Rana is the greatest exponent. On January 4, another fundamentalist group had promised serious consequences if the management of the Catholic school opposed the entry of its members. About 900 fundamentalists of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (Abvp) wanted access to honor the Hindu gods within the facility.

Yesterday, the police officers deployed in defense of the college arrested seven people as a precautionary measure. Fr Shaju Devassey, school principal, reports that "the police have taken full control of the structure". Tomorrow there will also be the first hearing of the petition presented by Catholic schools against the claim to celebrate Hindu religious rituals within Christian institutions.

However, the violence against schools continues. Yesterday, another Madhya Pradesh college, the St. Paul Convent School in the Ratlam district, was attacked and vandalized by Shri Rajput Karni Sena members, a group that opposed the distribution of the film "Padmatavi". The militants have destroyed chairs and the sound system of the institute, complaining that inside the students were intoning songs from the controversial film. A student was injured in the assault. The school had been threatened in the days before, after the fundamentalists of the Bajrang Dal [militant youth wing of the Hindu fundamentalist group Vishva Hindu Parishad - ed] had spread false rumours of the suspension of some students who pronounced patriotic slogans. 


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