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The Fruits of Ecumenism in India


We received from our reader N.C. in India the following news reports that speak vividly of the religious persecutions going on there at the present time. It demonstrates the bad intentions and lack of reality of those Catholic religious authorities who imagine that they will pacify the Hindus with smiles and heretical doctrinal concessions.

Mr. N.C. asked us to help spread these reports about the suffering of Catholics in his country. We willingly attend to his request, only lamenting that we cannot do more to prevent the odious religious persecution going on in India.

TIA correspondence desk


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Calling for a Priest to Have Sex with a Nun


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August 30, 2008 - Fr. Thomas Chellen, director of the pastoral center that was destroyed with a bomb, had a narrow escape after a Hindu mob nearly set him on fire. Currently undergoing treatment at a Catholic hospital in Orissa's capital Bhubaneswar, Fr. Chellen had this horrifying experience to share with Catholic News Service:

"They had poured kerosene on my head, and one held a matchbox in his hands to light the fire. But thanks to Divine Providence, in the end, they did not do that. Otherwise, I would not have been here to tell this horror," the 55-year-old priest, director of the pastoral center at Konjamendi in the Indian state of Orissa, told Catholic News Service in a telephone interview from his hospital bed on August 28.

When a Hindu mob of 500 people broke into the pastoral center around noon August 24, Fr. Chellen said he fled through the backyard with another priest and a nun.

"It was heartbreaking for us to watch from a distance the entire complex go up in smoke," said Fr. Chellen, who had supervised the construction of the center that opened in 2001 and could accommodate 200 people.

"They vandalized everything and set it on fire. It has been reduced to ashes," he added.

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Fr. Chellan, recovering in the hospital
As the three watched from a distance, some other priests told them to flee.

"We fled to the jungles and came in the night to take shelter in the house of a Hindu friend and spent the night there," Fr. Chellen said, adding that the second priest left them to join other priests.

The following morning, he said, the Hindu family moved the priest and nun to an adjacent vacant house and locked it to give the impression that no one was inside.

However, the Hindu mobs overheard the priest speaking on his cell phone, broke into the room, and dragged him and the nun outside.

"They began our crucifixion parade," said Fr. Chellen. The gang of about 50 armed Hindus "beat us up and led us like culprits along the road" to the burned pastoral center.

"There they tore my shirt and started pulling off the clothes of the nun. When I protested, they beat me hard with iron rods. Later, they took the sister inside (and) raped her while they went on kicking and teasing me, forcing (me) to say vulgar words," said the priest, who has cuts, bruises and swollen tissue all over his body and stitches on his face.

"Later both of us, half-naked, were taken to the street, and they ordered me to have sex with the nun in public, saying nuns and priests do it. As I refused, they went on beating me and dragged us to the nearby government office. Sadly, a dozen policemen were watching all this," he said.

Angry at his plea to the police for help, the mob beat the bleeding priest again.

Later, a government official and members of the mob took the priest and the nun to the police station, where Fr. Chellen said he was kicked in the face.

"The four-hour ordeal ended when a senior police officer arrived in the evening," said Fr. Chellen.

The priest said one of the most hurtful things about the incident was that some local Hindus whom he knew were watching the events and ignored his requests for help.


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How a 20-Year-Old Girl Was Burnt to Death by a Cheering Crowd


August 28, 2008 - Fr. Edward Sequeira, a priest belonging to the Society of the Divine Word (SVD), was one of those who was seriously injured when his mission station was attacked by the mob in Orissa.

Currently recuperating at Burla Medical College Hospital, Sambalpur, Fr. Sequeira, upon gaining consciousness, narrated this story to his brother Commodore Valentine Sequeira, who writes:

Rajani Majhi

Nursing assistant Rajani Majhi, a Catholic, was burned alive by Hindu mobs. Below, the remains of the Orissa Catholic orphanage

Orissa
A large mob of more than 700 people were returning after attending the cremation of Swami Laxmananand Saraswati, who was killed along with four others Saturday evening by suspected Maoist guerrillas at his Jalespata ashram.

The mob was chanting anti-Christian slogans and when they reached Padampur in Bargarh district, they attacked the orphanage where Fr Edward lived.

Ms. Rajani, a 20-year-old student who lived in the orphanage and was also working as an auxiliary nurse in the orphanage confronted them.

When Fr Sequeira arrived at the spot, the mob locked him and Rajni into separate rooms, and ordered the children to vacate the orphanage. The mob then ransacked Fr Sequeira's room, poured petrol on him and on Rajni, and set the orphanage on fire.

"I was engulfed in flames, I could hear the cries of Rajni and the mob was cheering and shouting through the windows," recalls Fr Sequeira.

He however, managed to crawl to the bathroom, beat out the flames and close the windows.

"When I started to suffocate I found a crack in the wall that was damaged in the attack and kept my nose there to breath some air. All the while I could hear the cries of Rajni from the next room where she was writhing in agony. After some time, there was silence and I thought she must have managed to escape from the room," recalled Fr Sequeira.

Unknown to Fr Edward, the girl was burnt alive and had breathed her last.

People from the neighborhood who heard the cries of children rushed to the rescue, broke the walls and brought the priest to safety outside the burning building. That is when the mob attacked him again outside the orphanage and beat him up mercilessly till he became unconscious. He was initially rushed to the hospital at Padampur and later, with the help of local officials, was shifted to Burla Medical College Hospital in Sambalpur.
Posted September 2, 2008

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