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ICC Note:

In India, Hindu radicals told the leaders of a Catholic college that they had to participate in Hindu rituals otherwise the organization would face severe consequences. Such a demand is a blatant violation of religious freedom and a form of persecution. Unfortunately, such harassment is not uncommon in India where churches and religious schools have been closed in an attempt to squelch non-Hindu religions.

01/04/2018 India (Asia News) – If you do not celebrate Hindu rituals in the Catholic institute “you will have problems”. This is what the Hindu radicals of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (Abvp) are threatening in Madhya Pradesh. The target of this latest episode of intimidation is St. Mary’s Post Graduate College in Vidisha. Speaking to AsiaNews Msgr. Anthony Chirayath, bishop of Sagar, says: “I am worried because Hindu right-wing activists say they want to do a ‘pooja’ [ritual votive to the gods, ed] in our Catholic institution. In the college we do not celebrate Mass or prayers and we will not allow [that they] offer any Hindu sacred ceremony. ”

The incident dates back to December 30, when a group of Abvp activists, the youth wing of the BJP [Bharatiya Janata Party, Hindu nationalist party in government – ed] came to college asking to speak with the administration. Fr Shaju Devassy, the principal, reports that the Hindus wanted to force the school to carry out there and then the Bharat Mata Aarti [national personification of India as “Mother Goddess”, represented by the goddess Durga dressed in an orange sari and accompanied by a lion – ed.] Faced with the refusal of Catholics, “they became furious and threatened that they would complete the ritual even by force”. “We feel emotionally harassed – adds the priest – the students fear for their safety”.

 

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