Roman Catholic priest attacked in India


INDIA: July 1, 2007. (ANS) A group of Hindu Extremists attacked a Roman Catholic priest, Carmelite Fr. Silvester Pereira, of the Carmel Church in the village of Koteshwara, Kundapura, Udupi District of Karnataka State in India on Monday, June 25th.

The attackers, who were from an anti-Christian group called Bajrang Dal, beat him savagely and struck him with blows. The incident took place as Fr. Pereira was in a hospital along with a Hindu covert to Christianity and three others who had brought him there medical treatment. Then the gang shouted slogans and severely beat him ruthlessly. The local extremists had targeted his work and accused him of "forced conversions" by these activities. The priest sustained serious injuries and was undergoing treatment at press time. A case was registered with the local police and they arrested Ramanna Shetty, the leader of Bajrang Dal. Three days after the attack, three more persons were also arrested. They were Ramanna, Nagaraj and prashant Ankalakatti. Ramanna Shetty was later released on bail. Speaking to ANS, the Police Inspector D'souza said, "The reason these Hindu extremists beat the church father was because he had took a sick person along with him for a medical check up to a nearby hospital, and they alleged that the church father was converting him through this activity." Huge crowds gather in Karnataka to protest attack against Fr. Pereira and other Christians One June 27th, huge crowds gathered in Karnataka to protest attack against Fr. Pereira and other Christians. Mgr Stanislaus Fernandes, archbishop of Gandhinagar and secretary general of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI), said later that he was overwhelmed by the solidarity of the population, irrespective of caste or faith. "The state must however act against the culprits who too often get away with it," he said. Bajrang Dal is an anti-Christian group prevailing in the land of India, mainly in the southern parts of the country. Their goal is to have an organized Hindu society in which all its constituents and institutions function in harmony and co-ordination, just as in the body organs. So in order to fulfill their aims and objectives they are keenly interested to see that their land is protected and people are "not led astray" and they are always on watch on people and forces that try to "divide their" nation. So the main targets are Christians who proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ to the people so that is why there are attacks on Christians and their evangelists.

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