The growth of Jesuits and their apostolates in India is one of the great blessing of the Society since the Restoration. Currently there are over 16 provinces in India, more than 3000 Jesuits who are running a huge network of universities, colleges, parishes, retreat houses and many other works. The educational apostolate reaches many poor and forgotten areas in India, with many Jesuits working with tribals and dalits or the 'untouchables'. This work with the poorest and excluded is controversial. In a country with so many religious traditions, some more ancient that Christianity, the desire to understand the other faiths and the efforts for inculturation are particularly important.
With many Jesuits working in education with the poor, on the front lines, often they are exposed to local jealousies, corruption and resistance from those who wish to preserve the status-quo. Today 14 years ago Father Remis Kerketta, 47, headmaster of St. Xavier´s School in Bihar state´s Ranchi district, was found dead on the highway in what police say was a road accident. An initial autopsy, however, told a different story, prompting some to suspect foul play. According to the preliminary autopsy report, "his cerebral cortex was pierced by a bullet. Another Jesuit missionary in Ranchi questioned if it was just robbery - said robbers who look for motorbikes "do not kill people. They just show a pistol and take away the bike."
Bishop Stephen Tiru of Khunti officiated the funeral Mass July 13 at the cathedral church. Father Kerketta worked his whole life in Khunti diocese. His life was dedicated for the service of poor people and Munda tribals, Bihar State is infamous India for being economically underdeveloped and educationally lagging behind. Originally a ancient and prestigious seat of learning. Modern Bihar has a grossly inadequate educational infrastructure creating a huge mismatch between demand and supply. This problem further gets compounded by the growing aspirations of the people and an increase in population. The craving for higher education among the general population of Bihar has led to a massive migration of the student community from the state. The presence of the Jesuits in such an area is a powerful witness.