India: Jesuits Attacked by Radical Hindus

Source: FSSPX News

On January 30, 2012, about a hundred Hindu extremists erupted onto the campus of the Jesuit University Institute of St. Joseph in Anekal, 40 km from Bangalore (State of Karnataka), in the south of India.  The missionary agency Fides reports that violent elements of the radical Hindu groups “Vishwa Hindu Parishad”, “Bajrang Dal”, “Rashtra Sakthi Sene” and “Karnataka Rakshana Vedike” interrupted classes on the pretext that the national flag had not been hoisted the day before, on the Feast of the Republic.

Fr. Melwin Mendonca, S.J., Dean of the Institute, declared that they lived through hours of great fear, especially because of the connivance between the civil institutions, the security forces and the extremists.  The Jesuit was arrested by the police without any charge, just to satisfy the crowd that demanded his arrest.  Some students, who intervened to protect him, were hit and wounded.  Released 9 hours later, in the evening, Fr. Mendonca was not able to file a complaint for personal aggression, illegal entry onto campus, and the blows and wounds inflicted on the students.

“The exposition of the flag, visible inside campus, was a pretext.  Since 2010, the Institute has a more open policy towards the less favored social classes, and that is the real motive behind the extremist attacks.  Certain Hindu officials are asking that the permit granted to the Institute to exercise its educative mission be revoked.  They demand that no license relative to educational institutions be granted to Christians who, according to them, destroy India’s culture.  We have many similar cases in Karnataka where Christians are persecuted,” declared the Jesuit priest.  In 2011, there were more than a thousand attacks against Christian persons and institutions in Karnataka.

The University Institute of St. Joseph has existed in Anekal for over 40 years.  It presently has 378 students, 200 of whom are Dalits or members of the lowest castes and 60 are natives. (sources: apic/fides/sjweb – DICI#250, Feb 17, 2012)

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