Indian Catholics condemn police brutality after protesters shot

May 28, 2018 by  
Filed under India, newsletter-india

Hyderabad, May 28, 2018: Thousands of Catholics marched in solidarity with those protesting a multi-million-dollar copper-processing unit in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu on May 27 after an earlier showdown with police left 13 dead.

The demonstrators’ clashes with security officials on May 22 resulted in officers opening fire. At least four Catholics were killed, according to media reports. One Catholic priest was also injured.

Some five days later all of the parishes belonging to Madras-Mylapore Archdiocese, which covers the state capital of Chennai, conducted meetings and marches in their areas condemning the police brutality in the port town of Tuticorin, a Christian center in coastal Tamil Nadu.

“As citizens of India, a nation governed by a participatory democratic system, we deem it our duty and right to condemn the shooting” of people who were protesting against the copper plant, Archbishop George Antonysamy of Madras-Mylapore told ucanews.com.

Those who attended the bloody rally claim the plant, owned by London-based Vedanta, has been polluting their environment and water sources, causing a spike in cancer cases.

For the last three months people have been protesting against the company’s plan to expand its operations in the area.

The plant is located in a central urban district close to a Catholic parish but local church officials claim it affects 19 parishes in the city, which caters to about 100,000 Catholics

Archbishop Antonysamy said the protesting Catholics have “drawn inspiration” from Pope Francis’s Encyclical Letter “Laudato Si,” which insists that “the church should return to its mission of ministering to the poor and marginalized, advancing the cause of the environment for those who most depend on it.”

“The church stands in support of the protesters, who are struggling to provide for their families and [are fighting on behalf of] future generations,” he told ucanews.com

Archbishop Antonysamy has also led a demonstration for the same cause at St. Andrew’s Church in Chennai.

He said he wished to express his “solidarity with the cause of the protesters” and offered prayers for those who were killed. He described the police action of resorting to the use of firearms as “unjustifiable murder.”

– ucan

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