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Extremists attack a mission hospital in India’s Madhya Pradesh state

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A Christian hospital came under attack by suspected extremists, who bull dozed the boundary wall of the hospital. This attack paved the way for a property dispute, while purportedly the attackers came with the intention of grabbing the land belonging to the hospital.

Christian Missionaries in India

Media reports that a mob of about 60 people armed with lethal weapons launched an attack on of Pushpa Mission Hospital in Ujjain- a town in Madhya Pradesh. They demolished the boundary wall and erected another fence themselves. While the attackers were demolishing the boundary wall, some of the nuns working at the hospital resisted the attackers.

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It is reported that the attackers claimed the land setting up makeshift shops instead. Talking to media, the Director of the hospital Father Anthony Pulickamandapam confirmed “Our staff including Catholic nuns who attempted to resist the advance were manhandled and forced to flee for safety. They also destroyed the back-up power generator and disconnected the water supply, putting the lives of nearly 200 patients including 12 in the intensive care unit in serious danger.”

Father Pulickamandapam said that the trouble started since January this year. He said that personal assistant of a parliamentarian claimed that the land belonged to him; this land was granted to the hospital by the local civic body. This land was granted to be used as a parking lot for the staff and visitors of the hospital.

On January 27, adherents of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) attempted to grab the land, but the hospital administration moved the Madhya Pradesh High Court. Consequently, on February 2, the court issued a stay order thus barring each party to take action until further hearing. The High Court also directed a lower court to conduct a police investigation into the matter.

On March 8, the lower court ruled that there was no need for a stay order told Bishop Sebastian Vadakkel of Ujjain. The court maintained that the investigations were proceeding smoothly. The church authorities however sought another stay order. On March 12, Monday the attackers launched an attack, while the police remain inactive.

When the hospital administration contacted the local police station seeking help, police did not respond. Even our staff nurses, who approached the women’s police station to lodge a complaint, were turned away,” Bishop Vadakkel said.

A delegation of Catholics under the leadership of Bishop Vadakkel met with Governor of Madhya Pradesh Anandiben Patel, while he was visiting Ujjain. The delegation briefed him about the incident and urged for protection for local Christians and the properties belonging to them. Bishop Vadakkel of the belief that the attack was also intended to keep people away from Christians and their institutions.