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Church leaders deplore attack on Christian institutions

ICC Note: Marxist student group attacks Christian schools after court rules in the favor of the Christian schools.

4/5/07 India ( – Church leaders and organizations have condemned the vandalism unleashed on Christian educational institutions by the student outfits belonging to the ruling Communist Party of India, Marxist government in the southern Indian state of Kerala.

On Wednesday, Students Federation of India, the Leftist student wing, smashed computers, vehicles, doors and windows of some Church-run educational institutions in Kerala following a court order that seemingly favored self-financing professional colleges run by minority communities.

Church leaders on Thursday deplored the violence. “It is disgraceful that Marxist student outfits are attacking minority institutions that are serving the society,” said Changanassery Archbishop Joseph Powathil, who is also the chairman of the Education Commission of the Kerala Catholic Bishops Council.

“This seems to be an attempt to replace the rule of law with jungle law,” Archbishop Powatil told Indian Catholic.

“Everybody should be ready for compromise. This vengeful reaction against the peaceful response to the anti-minority Act under the guise of the Professional College Act, with the silent nod of the government, is undemocratic,” Archbishop Powathil said.

He said the ruling Marxist party in Kerala will have to pay the price for the decision to resort to violent methods following an unfavourable court verdict.

Verapoly Archbishop Daniel Acharuparambil also expressed concern over the growing intolerance against private educational institutions runs by Church groups in Kerala.

“Attacking our educational institutions is not an answer to settle problems associated with student admissions,” he said.

The Kerala Catholic Youth Movement said the government should not allow anybody to take law into their hands. “The progressive student movements should give up vandalism and violence,” KCYM president John Britto said.

Changanassery Archbishop Powathil, who is also the chairman of the Inter-Church Education Council said that the reason for the church approaching the court on the Self-Financing Colleges Act is the conviction that minority rights are at stake.

Even while reserving his comments on Tuesday’s High Court Single Bench verdict on the self-financing colleges issue, maintaining that more time was needed to study the court order, Archbishop Powathil said that what the Church wanted by approaching the court was to point out a wrong committed by the government.