Government seals off Catholic mission in central India

(UCAN) Government officials in a remote area of central Indian Madhya Pradesh state have impounded the property of a Catholic mission and forced its priest out of the premises, allegedly under pressure from right-wing Hindu activists.

The 20-year-old mission in Mohanpur village of Guna district was “sealed” over a land title dispute and Father Siljo Kidangan forced out on Sept. 12, local Bishop Anthony Chirayath told

Father Kidangan said government officials acted under pressure from members of hard-line Hindu groups who are opposed to the mission’s work and accuse it of trying to secure religious conversions.

The mission aims to help poor villagers by coordinating several welfare projects.

Mohanpur and some 40 nearby villages are provided with basic amenities and a hostel for about 15 boys studying at a nearby government school.

A Hindu right-wing activist group on Sept. 11 went to the mission demanding that the priest and schoolboys vacate or face dire consequences, Bishop Chirayath said.

The priest refused to move. [More]