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Gujarat bishop denounces Hindu extremist violence

Bishop Stanislaus Fernandes of Ahmedabad has taken to the streets to defend Catholics in his diocese against the attacks of Hindu extremists.

Bishop Fernandes urgently left the bishops' conference meeting in Jalandhar to return to his diocese because of rioting in the state of Gujarat.

Last week he led a peace march in Ahmedabad against attacks by fundamentalists on the Sanjeli Catholic mission, the SAR news agency reported.

The Vatican agency Fides stated that on March 2 in Khurda village, two Catholic priests and two lay Catholics were attacked by the Association of National Volunteers (RSS) activists, Hindu nationalists, when they were on their way to the police station to report an attack on a Church-run school on Khurda.

Fr Nicholas Martiz, a Divine Word novice master Catholic Ashram parish priest Fr George Bhuriya and a parishioner and driver were attacked by an armed group of RSS supporters.

Fr Martiz suffered head injuries and was taken to a hospital. The other men received minor injuries.

Earlier in the day an eight-member RSS group descended on the Mahatma Ghandi school of the Catholic mission terrorising the students and staff and demanding that the school be closed to keep a national strike.

Gujarat in Flames


13 Mar 2002