Catholics in India ask for protection in wake of violent attack

.- After a rash of violent attacks, including a the killing of a Catholic layman in Kashmir and the assault on a Catholic school in Tamil Nadu, the Catholic community of India has asked for government protection and has expressed its desire to continue its pastoral work despite difficulties.

According to the Fides news agency, a local church official said, “The general atmosphere has not changed.  Our pastoral activities are proceeding normally.  We continue ahead with faith and in constant prayer, knowing that a large portion of the Indian population does not approve of these attacks and has no problem with Christians.”

Several days ago a Catholic man in Kashmir was killed, apparently because he was a convert from Islam.  In response Bishop Celestine Elampassery demanded greater protection and security from police for the small Catholic community there.

In Tamil Nadu the Holy Fatima School of Omalur was attacked by a group of vandals who burned bibles and destroyed the school chapel. The Federation of Catholic Associations of Tamil Nadu has called on local officials to apprehend those responsible for the damage and to open an investigation.  The attacks came after news of the death of a student from the school.  Authorities have not yet determined the cause of this death.

The Federation also called on the state government to recognize education and social institutions for religious minorities and to immediately release the nuns who work at the school and were detained for no apparent reason.

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