CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 10 November 2018

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Clampdown after Catholic hospital attacked in Madhya Pradesh

BHOPAL (UCAN): On March 15, three days after suspected Hindu activists demolished the boundary wall of the 44-year-old Pushpa Mission Hospital in Ujjain town in Madhya Pradesh province, in central India, the local authority issued a prohibitory order to check tension and further activities in the disputed area.
 
“The administration suo moto (on it’s own cognizance) issued a prohibitory order in the disputed area so that no activity can be carried out there until a further order,” Neeraj Pandey, a police additional superintendent, said on March 16.
 
Church officials accused the police of inaction on March 12, when about 60 people used bulldozers to demolish the wall and subsequently manhandled staff who attempted to resist. 
 
The attackers also damaged an electricity transformer, back-up power generators and water connections. The hospital is running on temporary power and water connections taken from the neighbouring building according to Bishop Sebastian Vadakkel of Ujjain.
 
Pandey said the administration is working on restoring water and power connections.
 
The administration moved soon after a delegation of four bishops, including Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, secretary-general of the Indian Bishop’s Conference, visited the area and demanded that state and federal governments act to ensure the rights and safety of Christians in Madhya Pradesh
 
“Neither the state of Madhya Pradesh nor the federal government can afford to allow mobs to take the law into their own hands,” Bishop Mascarenhas said in a statement after he visited the hospital along with Bishop Vadakkel, Archbishop Leo Cornelio of Bhopal and Bishop Chacko Thottumarickal of Indore.
 
The dispute started in January after Gagan Singh, the personal assistant of a local parliamentarian, staked a claim over the land which the hospital claims was given to it four decades ago for parking and maintaining its greenery (Sunday Examiner, February 11).
 
The attack occured despite a pending court case and Church leaders suspect perpetrators have administrative support as Singh belongs to the Bharatiya Janata Party that runs the state government.
 
“The use of political muscle and an arrogant display of violent might is nothing but terrorism and anti-nationalism. We condemn these acts of violence, terror, intimidation and forceful trespass as these actions pose a threat to the well-being and future of our beloved nation,” the statement said.

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