//Three Christian priests injured in attack

Three Christian priests injured in attack

Monday, February 27, 2006  00:04 IST

Three Christian priests associated with a local charity

organisation in Nere village near Panvel were allegedly

 attacked by Bajrang Dal activists on Sunday.

All three – Rev K M Philip, Rev Biju Samuel and Rev Reggie

 Thomas – sustained injuries and have been admitted to

MGM Hospital, Kamothe, where they are also undergoing

 tests to rule out internal injuries.

The incident occurred around 6.30pm on Sunday, when

the three missionaries attached to Social and Evangelical

 Association for Love (SEAL), were leaving the premises

for a prayer meeting.

“The attack was pre-planned and the mob mercilessly beat

 them up with crow bars, inflicting injuries on their head,

shoulders, back and legs,” alleged Abraham Mathai, general

 secretary, All-India Christian Council, who visited the priests

 in the hospital late in the evening.

Mathai said the local volunteers of Bajrang Dal had been

 harassing the priests ever since they set up the charity

organisation two years ago for destitutes and the downtrodden

 in the rural area.

“Despite attacks in the past, the Bajrang Dal activists have been getting

 away in the past because the police do not apply sections like 153 (a)

 for causing enmity between two communities, which will attract

 harsh punishment,” said Mathai.

The Bajrang Dal representatives claimed that the Christian priests

had got into the habit of blaming the Hindu group for anything.

“Even if a priest gets a stomach ache, he blames the Bajrang Dal

 for it,” said Shankar Gaikar, state convenor of Bajrang Dal, adding

 that the incident could be a sporadic reaction of the local

community which was affected by the activities of the missionaries.

Meanwhile, the police are yet to register a formal complaint.

“The priests were rushed directly to the hospital and we have

 sent our officer to there to file the complaint,” said in-charge

PI Pradeep Mane.

http://dnaindia.com/report.asp?NewsID=1015088