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Hindu extremists in India attack pastor, girls’ school
A Christian preacher in India was attacked recently by 20 Hindu activists and arrested for allegedly forcing people to convert to Christianity. In a separate incident, 50 Hindu extremists raided a Catholic girls’ school.
Rev. Bhaskar John Poojappa, a Pentecostal minister of Holy Mountain of God, was attacked in Doddaballapur, Bangalore by some 20 Hindu fundamentalists, who broke into his home last Wednesday and beat up the pastor, his wife Divya, and their two daughters, aged 4 and 2.
Global Council of India Christians said the fundamentalists “ruthlessly beat up all the members of the family, slapped them and kicked them all over the body, and didn’t even spare the two-year-old little child,” Christian Today reported.
The attackers, who are with the Sangh Parivar activist faction, dragged Poojappa to the police station and pressured the police inspector into arresting the pastor on false charges. He was later set free, and then rearrested the following day, Christian Today said.
Poojappa, 30, was again released from jail after the second arrest. He has been a Christian for 15 years, and also heads an orphanage for girls.
St. Joseph’s Convent School
In a separate development the Belgaum district’s St. Joseph’s Convent School for Girls was attacked last Monday by 50 Hindu extremists, who stormed the academy and threatened the nuns, teachers and management because two girls were denied admission to the school.
The group of Hindu extremists, led by Basangouda Sidramani (who heads the Bharatiya Janata Party), said that they would destroy the school building if the two young girls (who are the children of a friend of Sidramani) were not granted admission to the academy.
The extremists left the school premises upon the arrival of the police, who were summoned by some parents and Sister Thankam, the school principal.
“People must know that the majority of the population has been the main beneficiary of our educational facilities,” Archbishop Bernard Moras, president of the Karnataka Regional Catholic Bishops Conference, told AsiaNews.
“The situation is serious for two reasons. First, the attack was aimed at a school that never discriminated on the base of caste or creed,” Moras told AsiaNews.
“Second, the attackers went after nuns, women and girls, who were certainly weaker than them.”
There are some 20,000 Catholic educational institutions in India catering to some six million students. Sixty percent of the schools are located in the countryside. Only 23 percent of the total cumulative student population is Catholic.