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(Compass) – Violence broke out between Hindu and Catholic villagers on June 16 in a small village in Maharashtra , India , when a member of the local Roman Catholic parish council slapped the son of Anant Tari, a member of the extremist Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP). Simon Fernandes told reporters that he slapped the young man because he “abused and threatened” a Catholic layman. Two days later, a group of Hindus led an apparently coordinated attack on members of St. Peter’s parish that left 16 Catholics, including Fernandes, with injuries. Police arrested 15 people after the violence, 13 of them Catholics, releasing them later with a warning not to cause further trouble. Tari denied any involvement of the VHP. “There was no provocation … people were angry and retaliated,” he insisted. Nevertheless, church leaders remain skeptical of the VHP and its pro-Hindu agenda. Dr. John Dayal, general secretary of the All India Christian Council, said in a press release that the VHP has announced plans to establish a presence in 100,000 villages in India by the year 2011.