Catholic Church demands action against attackers, blames police for inaction Police say action already initiated, protection of minorities ensured
As per allegations a mob of about 60 people armed with chains and other weapons entered forcefully the hospital compound and destroyed the boundary wall with the help of two JCB machinesbhopal Updated: Mar 16, 2018 23:58 IST
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), Madhya Pradesh Regional Bishops’ Council and Syro Malabar Catholic Diocese of Ujjain have demanded a strict action against those who allegedly attacked Catholic Church run Pushpa Hospital in Ujjain, about 200 kilometers west of Bhopal, on March 12 calling it as ‘a dastardly and inhuman attack by goondas and anti-social elements enjoying political and financial clout’.
“This is the third incident in the last three months when violent mobs have targeted catholic institutions in areas with a very small minority of helpless catholics”, said archbishop of Bhopal Leo Cornelio who happens to be chairman of Madhya Pradesh Regional Bishops’ Council and bishop Sebastian Vadakel, bishop of Ujjain in a joint written statement.
As per allegations Gagan Singh, personal assistant to the local MP and 60 people armed with chains and other weapons entered forcefully the hospital compound and destroyed the boundary wall with the help of two JCB machines.
“They have blocked access to the hospital and to the emergency department of the hospital, dug trenches and blocked entry to the generators, power supply and water supply apparatus, thus placing at great risk the life and safety of innocent and helpless patients. The shameless and ruthless mob abused the lady staff, and nuns, in the filthiest language possible and also assaulted them physically. The police did not appear on the scene with the ostensible reason that they were busy with the visit of the governor of Madhya Pradesh to Ujjain”, says the written statement issued after the visit of archbishop of Bhopal Leo Cornelio, bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, secretary general, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, (CBCI), bishop Chacko Thottumarickal, bishop of Indore and bishop Sebastian Vadakel, bishop of Ujjain to the hospital on Thursday.
The Catholic Church authorities have also alleged that despite written complaints to police and their approaching other government authorities concerned ‘for protection against such atrocities and bullying’ no action has been taken so far. ‘The inaction of the administration is worrisome and disturbing”, they further allege.
When contacted Ujjain bishop said there was no dispute on the hospital land for the past 57 years but suddenly ownership of a part of the land was challenged some time back in the local court. While legal dispute was going on the mob attacked the hospital on March 12. There were earlier attacks too on the hospital on January 27, 28 and 30 this year.
Gagan Singh said he had won the legal battle against the hospital for his ownership on the particular portion of land which had been given to the hospital out of courtesy by his father for keeping their generator set more than 2 decades back. The fact was he just took possession of his land as per the court’s order. It was wrong to say there was any hooliganism on March 12.
Inspector general of police Ujjain V Madhukumar denied the allegations that police didn’t respond to the complaint of the hospital management.
“When I came to know I immediately instructed the local police to take action. We are always concerned about protection of minorities. Action has already been initiated against Gagan Singh and others under section 427 of IPC (mischief causing damage to amount of fifty rupees) on the complaint of the hospital management. Collector Ujjain has also initiated an action to maintain status quo at the place”, said V Madhukumar.
(With input from Sandeep Vatsa in Ujjain)
First Published: Mar 16, 2018 23:58 IST