Catholic nuns were the target of a concerted attack in Bangladesh last week .
“Fifty to 60 armed men attacked the Boldipukur mission on July 7 at 2 am, and specifically the presbytery, the convent and the hospital," Bishop Sebastian Tudu of Dinajpur told the international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need.
The bishop continued: "The attack was massive and lasted about an hour and a half. The attackers brutally beat the nuns. But we don't yet have the details. At the moment the nuns are in Dhaka for medical treatment. The door to the presbytery was broken down, and the pastor was threatened and robbed. The convent was seriously devastated. Only when the police arrived did the attackers leave the mission."
According to Bishop Tudu there had to date not been a similar attack in the Diocese of Dinajpur or in Bangladesh as a whole.
"It's unprecedented because nuns are highly respected in Bangladesh. The attack is obviously a targeted and planned attempt at intimidation. Nuns and priests are being attacked because they stand up for the disadvantaged and minorities. The police are now investigating the case. They have promised to clear it up," Bishop Tudu said.
He went on to say that the Diocese of Dinajpur had already been the scene of a number of attacks against Christians last year. The attacks had been on villages where Catholics live; a number of men had been attacked. "A seminary and the seminarians were also attacked. It was always said that the reasons for the attacks had to do with disputes over land and property,” according to the prelate.
The most recent attack is clearly a targeted response to Catholics' commitment to the country's poorest people," the Bishop of Dinajpur argued. Forty-five priests and more than 100 nuns are working in the diocese and, according to their bishop, they now live in fear.
Aid to the Church in Need is an international Catholic charity under the guidance of the Holy See, providing assistance to the suffering and persecuted Church in more than 140 countries. www.churchinneed.org (USA); www.acnuk.org (UK); www.aidtochurch.org (AUS); www.acnireland.org (IRL); www.acn-aed-ca.org (CAN)