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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Indian bishop, guard hospitalised after parishioners attack them

A Catholic bishop was hospitalised after a group of parishioners attacked him, a security guard and a priest in a five-decade-old land dispute in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

Bishop Jerome Dhas Varuvel of Kuzhithurai left the hospital on 12th March, two days after he was attacked by a crowd of about 130 Catholic men and women, reported ucanews.com.

The guard remains in the hospital after suffering serious injuries in his attempt to protect the bishop, Fr Russel Raj, diocesan chancellor, told ucanews.com.

Fr Augustine Ponnaian, the diocesan financial administrator, suffered only minor injuries and was not hospitalised.

Police have registered a case against 58 Catholics, including 16 women, accusing them of committing serious crimes such as rioting with weapons, criminal intimidation and using weapons in a manner of causing death.

Police have arrested two people and are looking for the other 56, who are reportedly hiding to avoid arrest.

“It was a planned attack on the bishop,” Fr Ponnaian told ucanews.com.

Picture: Bishop Jerome Dhas Varuvel of Kuzhithurai.