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More violence against Catholics and their local church

Asia News (02/05/06) – Today, some 20 women and men attacked the Catholic church in Kawanlit, in the district of Sialkot, at 9:45 am local time. Worshippers in and near the building were also assaulted—a 70-year-old woman had her legs fractured and another women, 50, suffered serious injuries to her back. The assailants also smashed windows, violated the main altar, and defiled the holy books the latter contained.

The mob threatened the whole community if they dared to go to court and press charges.

Ostensibly, the cause for the attack is tied to some land owned by the Church that was forcibly taken by Mohammad Iqbal, a local Muslim.

“Violence against the weaker communities is reappearing because the government has failed to take measures in response to incidents that happened before,” read a press statement released by the National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP).

“The most recent example is Sangla Hill where the due process of law has not taken place 80 days after the desecration and destruction of three churches and Christian properties,” said the statement signed by Mgr Lawrence Saldanha, archbishop of Lahore , and Peter Jacob, NCJP executive secretary.

The communiqué finally notes that “social discrimination remains unchecked. However, this attack signals a fresh impetus in the violence against the weaker communities. The places of worship of minority religions and sects have been attacked with impunity.” (PJ)