Bhopal : Five Schools and a Church attacked in Madhya Pradesh following the protest closure of institutions, on 29th August 2008, run by the Christian community in Madhya Pradesh. The members belonging to the VHP, Bajrangdal and other organizations carried out these attacks in Gwaliar district, Barwani district and a Church in Gwaliar district.
Fr. John Xaiver , Vicar General of Gwaliar diocese, said ,“the protesters came to four of our Christian schools shouting slogans against Christians , the police reached in time. Therefore damage was controlled.” After visiting the affected schools and Church Advocate Raju Francis , the Vice President of the Madhya Pradesh Isai Mahasangh , called on the people of Madhya Pradesh to develop courage to face any impending incidents.
The schools attacked in Gwaliar are , Carmel Convent school, St. Teresa’s School , St. Paul School and St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran School. Sr. Theodoerit, principal Carmel Convent school said, “they came and started shouting slogans and braking whatever was in their vicinity. Christians and police came in time so damage limited.” In the St. Paul Lutheran School the situation is worse their school and school bus which was out side parked was attacked. Rev. S P Das is the principal of this school. Fr. Nixon , the principal of St. Teresa’s school said that the miscreants destroyed many things in a short time. They entered the Church before they could do any thing people and police came to the campus and they went away shouting slogans.
In Barvani a large group of VHP and Bajrangdal members came to the school on 28th August itself protesting the closure of the school. Principal Fr. Jose P A said ,”I have closed the school, I have clearly conveyed this to the protesters that the management will abide by the decisions of the CBCI, the highest decisions making body of the Catholic Church.
Mr. Kurishinkal Joshi , President of the Madhya Pradesh Isai said “the protest is complete in Madhya Pradesh , along with Catholic institutions the non-catholic institutions too joined the protest. We had said all our district units to talk to all Christian institutions to close institutions as a mark of our respect towards those who died.”
Fr. Anand Muttungal, the PRO & Spokesperson, Catholic Council of Bishops and coordinator of the M.P Isai Mahasangh , said, “We must not be happy with the closure of institutions but continue to helpo the victims, We are holding a Srandhanjali Sabha,(Gathering to pay tribute to those died in riots), to pay our respect to the deceased and ask God’s blessing to face all situations. After this a Vehicle Rally will be taken out to the Madhya Pradesh Congress Party State Head Office in Bhopal. We will submit a memorandum addressed to UPA Chair person Mrs. Sonia Gandhi. This is to appeal to the Central Government to initiate steps to contain the violence.”
Bhopal district president of the M.P Isai Mahasang, Mr. Antony John said, “ the congress seems to be equally responsible for the worst situation in Orissa. It took long time to act and it gave the rioters time to attack more Christians.”
Fr. Anand Muttungal
PRO & Spokesperson
Catholic Council of Bishops, M.P