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Indian Christians seek ban on RSS. By Jawed Naqvi. Dawn.

NEW DELHI, Jan 15: A murderous attack on an American Christian missionary in India's southern Kerala state by Hindu fanatics on Monday has raised the worrying prospects that western religious preachers in South Asia were vulnerable not to Muslim extremists alone, but faced a real threat from other zealots too.

"For skydiver-turned Protestant Missionary Joseph W Cooper, the attack by a gang of suspected Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh men in a South Kerala village on Monday night has come as a rude shock," United News of India said on Wednesday.



A known professional parachute jumper in his younger days, US-based 68-year-old Cooper entered missionary work in early 1970s as an energetic youth, after resigning his job from a professional firm.



"It was literally a silent attack. The assailants did not utter a single word even though we pleaded with them to reveal their motive," UNI quoted a colleague of Cooper as saying. "They first exploded a country bomb to create panic and then attacked the missionary and five others with short sticks, swords and crowbars," UNI said.



"We could identify most of the members of the ten-member gang. All of them are known RSS activists in the locality and we have mentioned this in the police complaint", UNI quoted the witness as saying. The local RSS unit has reportedly denied involvement in the attack.



The All India Christian Council (AICC) on Wednesday demanded an international ban on the RSS alleging that its cadres had attacked eight people including the American preacher and a local pastor near Thiruvananthapuram on Monday night. About half a dozen people, led by an auto rickshaw driver, and identified by eyewitnesses as members of the local RSS unit, were involved in the assault, the AICC secretary general John Dayal told a news conference here.



Stating that AICC had been repeatedly warning about increasing "violent activities" of RSS and its sister organisations, Dayal said it was high time that the international community woke up to the "real menace" of the Sangh Parivar.



The police have arrested three people in this connection and one of them is reportedly a RSS member, one report said. The state chief minister said his government will take strict action against the accused but he refused to take any names.

"There were such attacks even earlier but they were isolated incidents and took place in different circumstances. We do not know the circumstances here, but we will take stern action," said A K Antony, Chief Minister, Kerala.

Nearly three years ago, Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two sons were burnt alive by a mob of Hindu fanatics in the eastern state of Orissa. Those attackers were also said to be linked to the RSS.

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