30 Seminarians And 10 Priests Detained on Conversion Charges in MP

Published 09 January 2018  |  
AP

The police have detained 30 seminarians and two priests from St Ephrem's Theological College in Satna in Madhya Pradesh as they were conducting Christmas carol singing program. Police also held another eight priests who later went to inquire about the detained priests and seminarians.

According to Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI), police used conversion charges against the seminarians. This is "frivolous and laughable," said the church body.

In the state, "there have been other signs of harassment of the Catholic Church in the last few months about which we have not raised a hue and cry," read a statement signed and issued by Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, SFX, secretary general, CBCI.

"The violence perpetrated by groups who claim to be "nationalists" and have taken upon themselves the mantle of protecting "nationalism' and "religion" is disgraceful. The complicity of the police who arrested the seminarians and stood by helplessly as the priests and seminarians were assaulted is disgusting and appalling. Such misuse of the police force and break down of law and order is not tolerable in a democracy and in a civilized Society," the statement read.

Police also denied access to other priests and Catholic Church management who approached the station to learn why the seminarians and priests were detained.

The atmosphere outside the police station was very hostile as a mob of Hindu extremists attacked the vehicle of the priests and attempted to set them on fire.

Condemning the brutal act of the extremists, CBCI appealed to the central government to take severe action against the miscreants and bring the rule of law and order immediately.

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