Sanghis vandalised Pushpa Hospital in Ujjain, MP on March 12, 2018. The Catholic Church has been running this hospital since 1976 and it is legal. Sanghis even brought a JCB but the police turned up only after the destruction was complete.
MUMBAI, India – A Catholic hospital in India was attacked by a mob on March 12, leading to the destruction of the institution’s water and power supply. Several nurses were also injured in the attack.
The Pushpa Mission Hospital is located in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, and is the oldest medical facility in the area.
A missionary hospital in Ujjain was allegedly attack by a group of locals led by BJP activists on Monday following a dispute over a piece of land, which both sides claim belong to them.
Carrying a JCB the group damaged the hospital gate, a generator and disrupted electric and water supply striking fear among patients and staff, alleged PRO of Catholic Church in Madhya Pradesh Fr Maria Stephen. He said nurses who tried to stop the attackers were harmed and beaten up. He said nearly 100 people pulled down the compound wall and put up an iron fencing inside the hospital premises.
Though several police personnel passed by no one intervened and the attack continued unabated. The hospital came up in 1974 when there were no health care facilities in villages. Sisters and doctors went to nearby villages and conducted many camps and supplied free medicines.
BJP MP from Ujjain and party spokesman Chintamani Malviya, however, alleged that the hospital had encroached on a private person’s land. He said the minority community lost in both high court and the lower court after which the land owner demolished the unauthorized construction on Monday. He denied that the owner or his men attacked nurses claiming that no one was required to enter the hospital premises. He claimed even after losing the court cases the hospital was not ready to vacate the encroachment. He said the district administration had recently marked out areas owned by both parties.
A delegation led by Bishop of Ujjain called on Governor Anandiben Patel who was in the town for a scheduled visit. “The entire Catholic church is shocked to know about the planned attack. Minorities feel unsafe in the midst of repeated attacks on Church personnel and Christian institutions. Archbishop of Bhopal Leo Cornelio strongly condemned an alleged attack on Pushpa Mission Hospital, Ujjain, calling it a systematic planning to create disturbance and violence.
Father Maria Stephen, the public relations officer for the Church in the Madhya Pradesh region, told Crux that the mob was made up of nearly 60 people, and also damaged the hospital gate, and terrified the hospital patients and staff.
A Church official said the mob was led by Gagan Singh, the personal secretary of Chintamani Malviya, a Member of Parliament.
The attack may be connected to a land disputed over a property adjacent to the hospital, which the Diocese of Ujjain had refused to hand over to Singh.
Bishop Sebastian Vadakel told Crux the attack is “definitely an act against the Christian community.”
“This dispute began around the end of January, where false claims were made of the ownership. We have all proper valid legal documents to prove ownership rights,” the head of the Ujjain diocese said.
Vadakkel led a delegation of Catholic dignitaries to meet the state governor Anandiben Patel, who was on a visit to Ujjain when the attack took place.
“We the minorities feel unsafe in the midst of repeated attacks on the Church personnel and institutions,” Stephen said.
“We want an explanation why the hospital has been attacked? There were nearly a hundred people who launched the attack on the front yard of emergency gate of the hospital, dug of the exit and pulled down the compound wall,” the priest said. “They even put up iron fencing on war footing inside the premise of the hospital. Despite several police vehicles passing by, not even a constable has turned up at the site while hooligans sitting at the encroached hospital front yard and abusing the media when they asked for explanations.”
Madhya Pradesh state has a population of 73 million. The state is over 90 percent Hindu and less than 1 percent Christian and is ruled by the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which also controls the national government.
The BJP has strong links to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a militant Hindu nationalist organization