Priest Demands Justice After Hindu Mob Storms Catholic School in India

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A Catholic priest in India filed a complaint to the state governor this week after a Catholic school and hostel were attacked by an armed mob of over 500 persons, which critically injured two students.

Outfitted with a variety of weapons, the mob assailed St. John Berchmans Inter College and Loyola Adivasi Hostel on September 3, vandalizing the property and beating up a number of the students.

The marauders smashed cctv cameras, computers, notice boards, chairs, the electrical fuse box, water pipes, and motorbikes, said Father Thomas Kuzhively, the secretary of St. John Berchmans Inter College in his letter to the governor.

“They began to beat up selectively, choosing the Loyola Adivasi hostel boys,” the priest wrote. “Two of them were seriously injured, and due to the timely intervention of the Religious Sisters … their lives were saved.”

“The rest ran for life and took shelter at different places,” he said.

Father Kuzhively chronicled the extensive damage done by the throng, while also noting attempts by the mob “to molest the college girls and the women staff, to which they forcefully resisted.”

The priest said that he wrote to the governor because a week after the attack, “no concrete action has been taken against any of the culprits.”

The Catholic school is located in the state of Jharkhand, ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is affiliated with a Hindu nationalist group. In past months, the area has experienced a spate of anti-Christian activity.

Jharkhand has a Christian population nearly twice the national average, at a make up of about 4.3 percent. Most of the Christians belong to the marginalized Tribal community, which are India’s aboriginal people who mostly live outside the caste system.

Church leaders say that trumped-up charges have been brought against local Christians for the purpose of stirring up anti-Christian hostility. A priest was arrested recently on the charge of “forced conversion” and a priest and a nurse working at a Catholic school were accused of sexually abusing a 9-year-old girl. Church officials deny both incidents.

“The concerted efforts of the rightwing continue, especially in Jharkhand, targeting the minorities and particularly the Christians. The rule of law is now rule of the mob,” Jesuit Father George Pattery, the provincial of South Asia, told Crux, an U.S.-based online Catholic news outlet.

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