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Christians Live Under Threat In Housing Area Nuns Set Up For Poor

ICC Note: Impoverished Christians and Hindus who used to live together in harmony are now at odds as radical Hindus are encouraging the local Hindus to attack Christians.

4/8/08 INDORE, India (UCAN) — Christians living in a residential area Catholic nuns set up 12 years ago for poor people, which they share with Hindus, say they now face threats from Hindu fanatic groups.

“We are being terrorized for practicing our faith. We are threatened over holding prayers in our homes,” Francinia Nelson Albert, one of the Christians, told UCA News. Albert belongs to one of about 160 Catholic families living in the Vijaynagar area of Indore, the commercial capital of Madhya Pradesh state, about 800 kilometers south of New Delhi.

St. Joseph Sevika Sanstha (congregation of the maids of St. Joseph), a local congregation of Catholic nuns, helped finance and set up the settlement comprising four blocks of two-story buildings in 1996. The owners pay the nuns in installments. Hindus own 30 percent of the 300 one-bedroom apartments. All the other residents are Christians.

Sister Johani Ekka, superior general of the congregation, told UCA News that Hindus and Christians had lived in harmony in the area. But over the past four years, Hindu hard-liners have abused, assaulted and threatened Christians several times, the 61-year-old tribal nun reported.

The trouble, she said, started with some Hindus objecting to public prayers at a small Marian grotto in the area. This turned into a major dispute, and Hindus demolished the grotto around 18 months ago.

Albert cited the latest attack as evidence Hindu groups now object even to Christians praying in their own homes. She and her husband were abused and assaulted on March 26 night for praying together with four other Catholic families, she said… [Go To Full Story – ID IC04774.1492]