By Santosh Digal, BosNewsLife Asia Correspondent
NEW DELHI, INDIA (BosNewsLife)– Police were investigating Saturday, March 27, attacks by suspected Hindu activistson a Roman Catholic school and, separately, a pastor and his companion near India’s capital New Delhi which injured at least three people, Christian rights activists said.
In the first incident some 25 people reportedly attacked and threatened to burn the Carmel Convent School in the cityof Faridabad, about 22 kilometers (13 miles) outside New Delhi, Thursday, March 25, said Madhu Chandra, regional secretary of the All India Christian Council (AICC), a national advocacy group of Indian Christians.
They also threatened “to burn the school” and make it “look like Kandhamal district” in Orissa state – where over 100 people were killed in anti-Christian violence since 2007 – he said, following an AICC-led investigation into the violence.
The school’s principal, who unidentified herself only as Sister Pushpa, said a member of the school’s management committee, I.S. Wadhwa, was seriously injured in the attack. “He suffered serious injuries on his head and was admittedin the [nearby] Vadaman Nursing Home.”
She said all those involved included parents of children studying at the school for free. The violence apparently broke out on the day results of schools exams were announced. “Parents, numbering 20 – 25, illegally and forcefully intruded into my office.”
It was not immediately clear what prompted the attack, but Hindu hard-line groups have on several occasions objectedto Christian education and related activities in several parts of India, according to the AICC and other organizations.
Separately, 40-year-old Pastor Gladwin Masih along with his companion, identified only as Mr. Pritam, were attackedby dozens of activists of the hard-line Hindu group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), or ‘National Volunteers Organization’, near New Delhi, the AICC said.
“They beat us with cricket stumps and hockey sticks. I was bruised all over my body, and was bleeding from my nose.My friend’s finger on his right hand was fractured,” the pastor was quoted as saying in a statement distributed by the AICC.
Pastor Masih called a police helpline number and police “rushed to the spot” but by that time “the attackers had fled,” according to Christian rights investigators. Several RSS activists had earlier interrupted a prayer meeting the pastor and his friend attended in the city Ghaziabad, some 24 kilometers (15 miles) east of New Delhi, “threatening” worshipers, the AICC explained.
Although police have reportedly said they are investigating the incidents, no arrests were apparently made Saturday, March 26.
The attacks are the latest in a series of incidents against Christians in mainly Hindu India which have been recorded by the AICC, which describes itself as a coalition of thousands of Indian churches, organizations, and layleaders.