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Presentation Novitiate Attacked In Central India, Novices Traumatized

ICC Note: Hindu extremists attack Christian women’s ministry, saying that they are not needed.

5/16/08 JABALPUR, India (UCAN) — A mob ransacked the Presentation sisters’ novitiate house and manhandled two novices on May 15 in Madhya Pradesh state, central India.

The Union of the Sisters of Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary novitiate is in Gondermau, a village on the outskirts of the state capital of Bhopal, 745 kilometers south of New Delhi.

Sister Silvya Francis, superior of the novitiate, told UCA News by phone on May 16 that the attackers identified themselves as Hindus and said they did not need the nuns there.

“We are not going to move out from here,” she asserted, adding that her congregation had opened the novitiate six years ago. God’s providence saved them from “much harm,” she continued, recounting that the attackers tried to forcibly take a novice inside a room but that the novice managed to escape.

Father Anand Muttungal, spokesperson of the Catholic Church in Madhya Pradesh, told UCA News on May 16 that he visited the novitiate and found the residents traumatized by the unprovoked attack.

According to what he learned about the attack, about 25 youths carrying iron bars, batons and hockey sticks went to the novitiate in the evening and smashed windowpanes, the television set, a table, chairs and other furniture in the house.

Father Muttungal also said the attackers had disconnected the telephone line to the house, which prevented the nuns from seeking outside help immediately. He said the attackers pulled two novices to the floor by their hair but that the young women were not seriously hurt.

The priest quoted the novices as saying that they had seen two attackers earlier standing in front of the novitiate.

The nuns have filed a police complaint, he reported, adding that a top police official had said they arrested 10 people in connection with the attack… [Go To Full Story – ID IC05008.1497]