INDIA - Maoists blow up Protestant school

Sasaram, India - Maoists blew up a Protestant school and several other institutions in an eastern Indian village on March 29 to protest a government crackdown.

Some 40 armed men stormed Duddha, a village near Bhabua, headquarters of Bihar’s Kaimur district, in the wee hours, police sources said.

They forced villagers to stay indoors before detonating dynamite at a primary school managed by Girls Everywhere Meeting the Savior (GEMS), a non-denominational Christian sect.

The Maoists also blew up a government school and three community centers before leaving the village. The buildings suffered severe damage, but no casualties were reported, police said.

Police have intensified patrolling in the area and launched raids to nab the Maoists.

Local newspapers said the attack was against “green hunt,” a crackdown on Maoists jointly undertaken by federal and state security forces.

GEMS has been active in the area for several years. The group works for the development of the poor, especially illiterate women.

The village comes under Buxar Catholic diocese.

Jesuit Father Sebastian Kanekattil, its vicar general, said the Catholic Church has no center in Bhabua. A priest, Father Thomas Vettukattil, stays in a rented place to explore ways of opening a mission there, he told UCA News.