ASIA/INDIA - Catholic priest and three lay people beaten

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

New Delhi (Agenzia Fides) - Conviction for the serious gesture, solidarity with the victims, need for an immediate investigation: is what Cardinal Baselios Cleemis, President of the Bishops' Conference of India asks for, after what happened to a Catholic priest, Fr. Jose Kannumkuzhy, and three lay people near Coinbatore, a city in the state of Tamil Nadu in South India. As reported in a note sent to Fides, on January 28 a crowd of young people, probably close to Hindu extremist groups, attacked the priest and three lay Catholics in the diocese of Ramanathapuram, hitting them with violence. The priest, 49, pastor of the church of San Sebastian in Arapparaora, is in shock and is in hospital in a state of semi-consciousness, given the many traumas and wounds due to the beating.
Fr. Jose Kannumkuzhy, and the lay Liji, Joseph and Kannumkuzhy, all members of the Diocesan Pastoral Council, had gone to the local health center for AIDS patients, called "Assisi Snehalaya", created and run by the Friars Minor Conventual, where the death of a child with HIV occurred. The priest and the lay Catholics were on their way to the police to report the incident, but on the way, they were attacked by a mob of 30 persons that forced them to follow them and were accused of the child's death. The police, though warned, did not acted promptly to stop the aggression.
The Bishops' Conference has appealed to the authorities to act promptly and called for more protection for Catholic people. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 02/02/2016)