India: Hindus Attack a Catholic Cemetery

November 09, 2020

Nothing seems to be able to stop the Hindu nationalists in power in India, in their anti-Christian escalation: fifteen days before the week of All Saints, during which Catholics usually go to pray at the graves of their deceased, the cemetery of a parish in Tamil Nadu, in the south of the country, has been desecrated by extremists as a form of intimidation.

With tears in his eyes, Fr. Michael Selvaraj walks amid broken marble crosses and overturned tombstones. In four years of presence in the Sacred Heart Parish of Udayarpatti, a village in the state of Tamil Nadu, in southern India, the priest had never seen anything like it.

On the night of October 17-18, 2020, a dozen Hindus forced the entrance to the cemetery, which has around 100 graves. The desecrators then attacked forty gravestones, overturning Christian symbols, as well as images of the deceased.

Nothing really surprising for the priest of Udayarpatti. On October 12, a local newspaper called Dinamalar, owned by Hindu nationalists, published a story alleging that there is a 100-year-old temple, a few steps from the cemetery. A proximity which has the value of blasphemy for the worshipers of Brahma.

In the aftermath of the sacking, Fr. Selvaraj’s parishioners held a protest to obtain justice, and, rare thing, eight of the twelve profaners were quickly apprehended by the police.

Overall, the situation is becoming alarming for Catholics in Tamil Nadu, as Nehemiah Christie, defender of minority rights, mentions in an interview with the Christian NGO Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW): “the Hindu Munnani, with the support of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) - two Hindu extremist movements - will stop at nothing to terrorize religious minorities. There is a systematic program of dismantling the Constitution of India, in order to achieve Rashtra – nation – that is 100 percent Hindu.”