injured a team of nuns and priests of the Missionaries of Charity, saying the government has "failed" to protect minorities, The Times of India newspaper reported Sunday, September 26.
They made the announcement after Kerala's police reportedly detained 15 people following two attacks on at least three priests and six nuns of the organization, raising fears of escalating violence against India's minority Christians.
The national governor of the Bangalore-based Global Council for Indian Christians Sajan K George said members of the right-wing Hindu parties Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were behind the violence on Saturday, September 25.
One Hindu official demanded "a comprehensive probe into the incident" but also called for the arrest of a missionary team member from Kenya, identified as brother Bernard, on charges of "religious propaganda after coming to India on a tourist visa," and "insulting remarks against (Hindu) Gods", The Times of India said.
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) said the attacks on nuns in Kerala began Saturday morning when two of them visited a slum on the outskirts of Kozhikode town where they had carried food for slum people, mostly Dalits, who live in extreme poverty.
They were allegedly pulled out of the jeep and the crosses they wore around their necks were said to have been broken. The nuns managed to escape and took refuge in a police station after slum people intervened, the BBC reported.
An hour later, another jeep belonging to Missionaries of Charity carrying Mother Superior Kusumam and six others, including the Kenyan missionary, arrived at the slum to help their colleagues, but were reportedly surrounded and attacked by 40 people carrying iron rods. Nine missionaries were admitted to a local hospital with head injuries, the BBC said, adding that the assailants managed to escape. Government officials have pledged to take hard actions against those behind the attacks.