The men came. A mob of them. Barging into an old mission hospital. Loud shouts. Slogans raised. Smashing things.
A mission hospital where for many years almost nothing was happening. After the foreign missionaries had left, a previous medical superintendent had run it as a personal kingdom. When he was ousted by the parent organisation, this man had sent a drummer to the villages to announce that the hospital was shut down - but his new clinic was open for business.
A mission hospital where many prayers for true transformation had been made. And where after years of struggle some real results are being seen. Hundreds of children attending new schools started in the surrounding villages. Patients coming into the hospital after years. A wholeistic community health and development programme - which is linked to local believers making courageous steps of faith.
The town is called "Kachhwa" (literally 'Tortoise') - a sleepy forgotten place in the badlands of eastern UP. The district Mirzapur - famous for its previous member of parliament - the notorious ex-lady-bandit Phoolan Devi - who was murdered while in office. The people who barged in - who physically assaulted Dr. Raju Abraham - leaving a deep gash near his eye from a thrown stone ---- who are these people?
Members of the same organisation that promotes 'service to the nation' - and who cannot stand the idea of anything other than a Hindu fascist state emerge. Never mind that the hospital had been given government permission to hold its meeting for 400 parents and children from the schools (catering largely to lower caste students). Never mind that for years and years people in villages surrounding this sleepy town continue to send their children to lightless rooms where there nimble fingers and small bodies are used hour after hour to make rugs. Never mind that this is India shining - the land of the free. If the RSS says that you can't meet - then you can't meet. Police permission be damned.
And if you dare to go against the organisation that is seen as disturbing the peace.
Please pray for our country - where incidents like this continue on and on. Those who come in and smash up things are let 'off' - and those who are smashed up are accused of 'hurting sentiments' - 'provoking' etc. etc. The constitution seems far away from things at Kachhwa.
But our prayers make a difference. Pray and pray hard!
P.s. you can read a small news item about this incident here
You can send a note of encouragement to Dr. Raju Abraham and the folks at Kachhwa Christian Hospital to: MARaju@compuserve.com