Some Hindus Reject Christian Quake Aid

AHMEDABAD, India, JAN. 30, 2001 (ZENIT.org).- Tension between Hindus and Christians is hindering relief efforts following India´s deadly earthquake, according to a Catholic priest who says he was driven away from a hospital when he arrived to help.

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«Hindu hotheads are trying to dominate the rescue effort,» said Father Cedric Prakash, the director of the St. Xavier´s Social Service Society, a nongovernmental charity, told The Washington Times. The Times reported on his plight in Monday´s edition.

Father Prakash said he rushed to a hospital in Ahmedabad after Friday´s catastrophic earthquake, hoping to help the overstretched staff cope with the flood of victims. Instead, the priest was shouted at by Hindu volunteers and pushed around until he left. «In a situation like this, there should be space for all people to serve. But obviously, there is not,» Father Prakash said.

CNN reported today that officials are warning that the death toll could reach 100,000 from the 7.9 quake.

On the streets of this city, which itself was badly shaken by the earthquake, the most visible volunteers are uniformly dressed in khaki shorts and white short-sleeved shirts, usually carrying sticks. They are members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the National Volunteers Corps, a Hindu nationalist organization that supports India´s ruling party and is hostile to other religious faiths.

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