Catholics protest attack on Archbishop Thumma Bala
Hyderabad: Tension gripped the Hyderabad Archbishop's house in Secunderabad on Monday when some Catholics gathered there demanding action against those who attacked Archbishop Thumma Bala on Saturday. The protesters, including priests, said that a group (demanding concessions in Catholic schools for poor and marginalised kids) who came to meet the Archbishop, tried to attack him and abused him in foul language. They said that when the Bishop tried to board his car, the mob pushed him. Around 200 persons took out a rally from the Bishop's house to Gopalpuram police station to file a complaint, leading to a traffic block on SP Road. Both the groups filed complaints with the police.
On Saturday, at around 9.30 am, C. Francis, Isaac Raj, Sheeba, R. Gone, Christopher Shinde and 25 others came to the Archbishop’s house to meet him, but as the Bishop was in a hurry to attend a school inauguration, which was decided a week ago he said that he cannot meet the group. Besides the group had no prior appointment to meet the Archbishop. When the Bishop was about to enter his car, they forced his driver out of the car, pushed him aside and abused him in vulgar language. “When one Fr Prem went to the Bishop's rescue, they assaulted him, beat up the driver and threatened him,” said Fr Amal, Procurator, Hyderabad Archdiocese.
The incident came to light on Sunday evening and on Monday hundreds of Catholics gathered at the Bishop's house to express solidarity with the Archbishop and the other victims. They also condemned the attack and said that it should be treated seriously. “It is not a question of forgiving them. If they are forgiven they will continue violence. So we want action against them,” Mr O. Balreddy from Bandlaguda said.
One of the priests said that concessions are given to all Catholic students and such protests will create an unhealthy atmosphere in the church. Meanwhile, traffic at the YMCA Junction on SP Road came to a standstill as the protesters marched towards Gopalapuram police station demanding action against the persons responsible. Police said that they will act after checking facts.