Sunday, May 18, 2008

Nuns attacked in Bhopal, MP

By Pervez Bari,,

Bhopal: A group of miscreants assaulted two inmates and ransacked Novitiate of the Presentation Sisters on Thursday evening on the outskirts of Bhopal here. The incident took place at Gondarmug village under the Gandhinagar Police Station area.

According to Fr. Anand Muttungal, PRO & Spokesperson Catholic Council of Bishops Madhya Pradesh & Chhattisgarh, the Sisters lodged a police complaint immediately after the incident against the unidentified persons at Gandhinagar police station following which nine persons have been arrested under Sections 147, 452, 426 and 502 of the Indian Penal Code, (IPC).

While narrating the incident, Superior of the convent Sr. Silvya Francis reportedly said: “the miscreants numbering 30 first forced their way into the convent campus. Then 12 of them barged into the convent through the main door and began to destroy the windowpanes, television set, lantern and other furniture.” The loss is estimated to be around one lakh.

The anti-socials were armed with hockey sticks, cricket bats and stones, she said adding they vandalized the convent for nearly 12 minutes. They also climbed up the first floor of the two storied building and dragged two of the novices down and manhandled them. Besides this, they tried to lock one of them into a room. However, both managed to escape from their clutches.

The marauders had also disconnected the telephone line before entering into the campus. The convent is the novitiate house of Sister of Presentation since last six years.

One of the novices reportedly said: “ they were shouting at sisters saying, “we are Hindus and we don’t want you here” They also asked them to leave the place, she added.

Reacting to the incident Fr. Anand Muttungal in a statement lamented that it is really sad to see the deteriorating religious harmony along with law and order. The Bharatiya Janata Party, (BJP), ruled Madhya Pradesh Government has failed to follow the High Court interim order to provide security to Christian community, he pointed out.

"We will approach the High Court again because after the court direction there have been around ten such incidents in Madhya Pradesh”, Fr. Anand claimed.

Meanwhile, a delegation comprising of office-bearers of Madhya Pradesh Isai Mahasangh, (MPIM), Roy John Thatta, Richard D’ Silva, senior journalist and Convener of Rashtriya Secular Manch L S Herdenia and Fr. Anand Muttungal, met the Bhopal Collector Manish Rasthyogi and Superintendent of Police Jaydeep Prasad. They have assured strict action on the accused. He also told that he will look into the damage happened to the building.”

Richard D’Silva, General Secretary of MPIM has asked the Government to provide security to the Christian community otherwise, he warned the community may have to take to the streets.

Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee spokesman J. P. Dhanopia while condemning the incident said since the BJP came to power four years back attacks on Christians and their places of worship has been going on at regular intervals. He said that up till now 82 cases of attack on Christians have occurred but still the state government has not woken up from deep slumber. The violence against Christians have taken places mostly in the districts of Bhopal, Indore, Ujjain, Ratlam and Jhabua, he pointed out.

Dhanopia has demanded from the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan to order impartial inquiry into the attacks on Christian community and see to it no such attacks take place in future. If this is not done then Congress would have to launch a campaign for it, he threatened. (

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