Chhattisgarh, controlled by the Hindu extremist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), ordered the takeover of Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) in Lundra village on October 10. The government program had been assigned in 1995 to the Raigarh-Ambikapur Health Association (RAHA), a Catholic voluntary health service of the Ambikapur diocese in the eastern part of the state.
“The BJP government is determined to dislodge RAHA from the ICDS Lundra, and allegations of conversions are an effective means to do so,” said Sister Emilina Xess, child development project officer. “We will approach the Bilaspur High Court for a stay order.”
Xess told Compass that the government action stems from jealousy of the esteem and popularity of Christians at the ICDS in Lundra. The state government has taken steps to terminate the services of Xess and Sister Lucy Barat, deputy child development project officer, on grounds that they were improperly appointed.