Catholic Missionaries in India Attacked

Last Saturday, three nuns belonging to Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, were reported to have been attacked as they were on their way to distribute food to a slum in the Kozhikode district in the north of Kerala state.

The national convenor of the Bangalore-based Global Council for Indian Christians Sajan K George has blamed the attack on the supporters of the right-wing Hindu parties Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The attackers had raised banners with slogans in favour of RSS and BJP when they attacked the nuns, accusing them of converting Dalit Hindus, Mr George said.

Earlier this year, India's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lost power in the national general elections.

Sister Christie, spokesman of the Headquarters of Missionaries of Charity in the eastern city of Calcutta told AFP on Sunday, "I was told the nuns were hit by something but I do not believe the injuries are serious."

The attackers escaped after the incident. An hour later, another group of nuns arrived and some of the young men tried to pull the nuns out of their vehicle and smashed its windshield, reported a Hindu newspaper.

Fifteen people were detained by the Police in the southern Indian state of Kerala following the two attacks on nuns of Missionaries of Charity.

Christian missionaries in India have been persecuted by Hindu radicals. They were accused of carrying out "forcible conversions" of Hindus by giving them food, education and money while the missionaries said they were just trying to help them.

Nevertheless, Sister Christie said the attack would not stop the nuns in their activities. "Nothing can stop from preaching the messages of Mother Teresa and serving the poor and dying," she said.

Christians make up about two percent of India's majority Hindu population of more than one billion people. Kerala state, where the incident occurred, has a sizeable Christian population.