40 Catholics Taking 280-Mile Pilgrimage Attacked by Hindu Mob in India

A protester holds a placard during a rally by hundreds of Christians against recent attacks on churches nationwide, in Mumbai, February 9, 2015. Five churches in the Indian capital New Delhi have reported incidents of arson, vandalism and burglary. The latest was reported last week when an individual stole ceremonial items. | (Photo: Reuters/Danish Siddiqui)

Six suspects affiliated with a radical Hindu mob have been arrested on charges of attempted murder following an attack on Catholics walking a 280-mile pilgrimage. 

The group of 40 Catholics were walking to a sanctuary in the Tamil Nadu state of India  — from Karnataka to the Marian shrine in Velankanni — on a pilgrimage that has been a tradition for decades, when they were attacked earlier this month.

The assailants, who are in custody, are accused of blocking a road the Catholics were walking along and then attacking them both verbally and physically. Along with facing charges of attempted murder, they also face charges of “rioting, hurting religious sentiments and acting to destroy religious peace,” the Union of Catholic Asia News reports.

An inspector at the Natrampalli police station in the Vellore district told UCA News that the perpetrators blocked a public road where they carried out their assault on the pilgrims. During the attack, a religious statue the pilgrims were carting during the trip was destroyed.

A local source told UCA News that no one was seriously injured in the attack and the six suspects are believed to be affiliated with the radical Hindu Munnani group.

Sajan K. George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians, told the Vatican news outlet Asia News that the pilgrims were carrying the statue of Our Lady of Health.

“They were abused by six members of the extremist faction belonging to Hindi Munnani,” George was quoted as saying. “The attackers claimed that the transport of Christian statues is not allowed in the residential area.”

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith