Jealousy Seen as Cause for Ousting of Missionary

Dutch Priest in India Is Educating Too Well

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SRINAGAR, India, JULY 13, 2010 ( A Dutch missionary of the Institute Mill Hill working in the Kashmir region of India has been asked by authorities to leave the country by the end of July.

His expulsion came as a surprise since the government had just renewed his visa until 2014.

But a coworker, Predhuman Joseph Dhar, contends that Father Jim Borst is being expelled because of jealously that his educational institutes are too successful.

Dhar explained this to AsiaNews in speaking about the missionary, who is also working on a translation of the Bible into the local Kashmir language. The Mill Hill institute has been active in Kashmir for more than 100 years, focusing primarily on education and health care.

Dhar is himself a former Hindu and convert to Catholicism. «The notice is sparked by jealous vested interests,» he said.

Father Borst has run two schools in Kashmir since 1997; the staff is 99% Muslim and both institutions are renowned for the high-quality level of education.

«The Muslim intelligentsia schools are unable to compete with his,» Dhar said. In fact, the schools have suffered attacks and accusations of proselytizing for Christianity.

In Kashmir the Christian population counts 14,000 faithful, about 0.0014% of the population, which is 97% Muslim.

«I’m really sorry. It is a great loss for me and the entire civil society of Kashmir,» Bishop Peter Celestine Elampassery of Jammu-Srinagar told AsiaNews. «Father Borst has lived here since 1963.»

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