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Catholic priests attacked in northern India

In separate incidents, a priest was manhandled by members of a pro-Hindu party while another was targeted by armed robbers
Villagers wait outside Farrukh Nagar police station in Gurgaon in Haryana following the complaint against the functioning of the church on June 1

Villagers wait outside Farrukh Nagar police station in Gurgaon in Haryana following the complaint against the functioning of the church on June 1. (Photo -- supplied)

Published: June 05, 2023 11:40 AM GMT
Updated: June 06, 2023 03:24 AM GMT

Two Catholic priests have been attacked in two separate incidents in two northern Indian states.

In the first incident, police booked around 20 men on June 5 for allegedly manhandling Father Joseph Amalraj at St. Joseph Vaz Catholic Mission Church on June 4 in Kherki Daula village in Gurugram, formerly Gurgaon, in Haryana state, ruled by the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

“A group of around 25 men claiming to be members of the Hindu Sena (Hindu warriors) allegedly manhandled Father Amalraj, accusing him of holding a conversion activity,” which is banned under the anti-conversion law, Shashi Dharan, public relations officer of Delhi archdiocese that covers parts of Haryana state, told UCA News on June 5.

The state enacted a stringent anti-conversion law in 2022.

Dharan said we lodged the first information report, documenting the initial details of the incident for further legal action, with local police on the same day and the police picked up a few people.

Wearing “saffron scarves and carrying tridents and swords,” they came to the Sunday service and warned the priest “to close the church within two weeks,” Dharan said.

During the commotion, one of them slapped Amalraj, which caused him hearing problems.

He said that a five-member team, led by vicar general Father Vincent D’Souza, visited the church after Amalraj alerted the archbishop’s house.

The tin-roofed church, built in 2021 on a rented place near Manesar, an industrial hub in Haryana, caters to nearly 40 Hindi-speaking and 25 English-speaking Catholic families.

Dharan said the owner of the property had asked the archdiocese to vacate the place as he was threatened by Hindu radicals.

“The accused will be arrested soon," police spokesperson Subhash Boken said while informing that a complaint against the functioning of the church was registered at the Farrukh Nagar police station in Gurgaon on June 1.

In another case, a group of robbers on May 31 looted around 600,000 rupees (US$7,346) from a parish in Odisha’s Sambalpur diocese, after attacking and inflicting wounds on the priest.

According to local media, six masked men went to the Amlikhaman parish church and threatened five priests.

Armed with guns, they allegedly demanded money and attacked parish priest Father Sushil Kerketta, who sustained head injuries.

A police official, Raj Kishore Mishra, told the media that police have launched a probe into the case.

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1 Comments on this Story
JOHN MASCARENHAS
why are the indian catholic bishops silent on these violent attacks? DO THEY HAVE SKELETONS IN THEIR CUPBOARDS THAT THEY ARE AFRAID OF BEING EXPOSED BY THE CORRUPT BJP GOVT?
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