Ujjain's Church Hospital Bulldozed, Nurses Beaten Up; Church Accuses BJP Leader

Published 21 March 2018  |  
Bulldozers at work.

A group of some 60 people led by a local BJP leader in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, on March 12 vandalized, bulldozed and forcibly occupied part of a Catholic hospital's land and roughed up nurses and other workers.

Pushpa Mission Hospital, managed by the Syro-Malabar diocese of Ujjain, was attacked by a mob led by Gagan Singh, personal secretary of BJP MP Chintamani Malviya, claiming they had a court order to "reclaim" a piece of land on the roadside of the hospital.

"Some 60 masked men armed with cycle chains and pickaxes came with bulldozers around 9 am and broke the front gate of the hospital and fenced off some 2,000 square feet of the hospital land," Fr Vineesh Mathew, director of Ishvani, the communication wing of Ujjain diocese, told Matters India.

The mob beat four nurses and pushed around others when they went to check the commotion, Sacred Heart Sr Elsy Jacob, who works in the hospital, said.

The attackers snapped the church's electricity connection and damaged the transformer.

"We are operating some sections with the help of a generator," she said.

The women's police station directed the nurses to go to the main police station when they went to lodge a complaint, said Jacob.

"When we went there, the officer said he had already sent force for our security. On rushing back we found no police at the hospital," she added.

The main police station officials ignored their appeal for help, said Mathew.

On July 27, Singh came with BJP members to seize the land, which the hospital has been using for the last four decades. However, the church got a "stay order" to maintain the status quo from the Madhya Pradesh state High Court.

Later, the police charged four Catholic priests with rioting after they stopped the party members to take over the hospital.

Tension intensified after revenue officials arrived to measure and demarcate the land. A local group also claimed a part of the land.


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