Thiruvananthapuram, Jan. 15: An American evangelist has been stabbed in an attack on a group of Christian missionaries in Kerala, a state where the Sangh parivar is trying to expand its toehold and has launched an aggressive campaign against conversions.
Pennsylvania-based Joseph W. Cooper (68) suffered a hand injury when he was attacked on Monday night by suspected RSS activists in Kilimanoor, a town on the outskirts of state capital Thiruvananthapuram. A local pastor, his wife, two children and a singer were also assaulted.
They were returning from a gospel convention. The assailants ignited a crude bomb before targeting Cooper with lethal weapons. Police said five RSS activists have been taken into custody.
US consulate officials from Chennai were on their way to Thiruvananthapuram to meet Cooper who underwent surgery at a hospital. His condition is stable, hospital sources said today.
The town where the attack took place has a number of converted Christians. The BJP is yet to win an Assembly or a Lok Sabha election from the state but the RSS has been spreading its reach. On Tuesday, RSS chief K. Sudarshan attended a convention in another corner of Kerala where he hit out at Christian missionaries. ( )
Cooper, visiting Kerala for the eleventh time, said one of his fingers was badly sliced. “I am almost offended by the allegation that we are converting Hindus to Christianity,” Cooper said.
An RSS spokesman said in Delhi that he was trying to get details of the incident. “But generally, none of our functionaries are involved in or encourage such acts,” he added.