A crowd of Hindu fanatics set upon four sisters of Mother Teresa in a hospital and had them arrested by local police on charges of proselytism and conversion of the sick.
Archbishop Oswald Gracias, President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India told AsiaNews: “This tragic attack on the nuns of Mother Teresa is shocking and has to be condemned in the strongest terms. This is all the more so because these nuns are known all over the world for their altruism and dedication to the poor.”
The four Missionaries of Charity were attacked on 25 June as they went about their weekly visit in a hospital in the city of Tirupati – a Hindu pilgrimage place – in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh. The four sisters, all aged around 35, were in the government hospital of Ruia, where they usually spend time with patients who are terminally with AIDS. A group of around 50 fanatics of the Hindu Dharma Parirakshana Samithi [group for the defence of the Hindu religion] broke into the hospital, blocked the four sisters and accused them of trying to convert patients.
The crowd swelled rapidly and soon there were around 300 people. They forced the sisters to remain in the hospital until 8.30pm. Then police officials arrived and took the women to the local police station.
Mgr Marampudi Joji, Metropolitan Archbishop of Hyderabad, told AsiaNews: “The sisters have official government permission to do visit the wards, which they have done every Sunday for the past 20 years. The sisters, in agreement with the hospital administration, have welcomed these dying patients into their homes, where they can die surrounded by dignity and love.”
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