Delhi Archbishop Appeals to Prime Minister to Step In

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NEW DELHI, India, DEC. 10, 2000 (
In a letter to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, Archbishop Vincent Concessao of Delhi denounced recent attacks against Christians in India, and requested measures to put a stop to the atrocities.

The archbishop stated that over the past few days there have been at least five violent incidents against Christians, and one against Muslims.

The letter goes on to say that «six incidents in five days, including one in Uttaranchal against Muslims, is alarming and something must be done to halt them. Your intervention would be very appreciated by the minority communities.»

The archbishop´s letter listed the recent incidents:

–On the night of Nov. 26, about 100 people stoned Christians in Kolar district of Karnataka, alleging that the Christians were distributing pamphlets and books containing a message for conversion.

–Earlier that same day, armed attackers looted the nuns of St. Mary´s Convent in Jwalapur, near Haridwar, in the Meerut Diocese in Uttaranchal, after holding them captive. «Three miscreants knocked down the convent´s boundary wall and raided the sisters´ dormitory,» Bishop Oswald Lewis told the press.

The nuns tried to hide. Two took shelter in the toilet, while three others hid in a storeroom. The attackers broke open the toilet and the storeroom doors. They threatened the sisters and stole the valuables.

— A chapel in Surat district, Gujarat, was ransacked Dec. 3 after attackers broke open its doors and windows.

— Bishop Joseph Kaithathara of Gwalior said that a 64-year-old priest, identified only as Father Alphonse, was brutally attacked by a mob Dec. 5 around 1:15 a.m. The Gwalior bishop said a group of people entered Father Alphonse´s house and beat him with sticks and iron rods. The priest suffered head injuries, and broken arms, legs and teeth. He is currently in the Medical College Hospital at Gwalior.

— On Saturday the Hindustan Times reported an incident in Bokaro, Jharkhand: «A few dozen miscreants broke into a city church in Bokaro and ransacked its prayer hall.»

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