Orissa Victimized Priests Determined to Return to Serve Poorest

Report and pics from Rons Bantwal
Daijiworld Media Network – Mumbai (RD)

Mumbai, Sep 2: Bombay Catholic Sabha (BCS) expressed shock over the brutal torture and terror experienced by Fr Thomas Chellan and Fr Edward Sequeira at the hands of fascist forces in Orissa.  They urged PM Dr Manmohan Singh and the chief minister Naveen Patnaik of Orissa, to take steps to ensure the rule of law.  They also urged all political parties to come together to end this brutality, in the guise of religion.

While condemning the gruesome killing and condoling the death of VHP leader Laxmanananda Saraswati, BCS urged Orissa government to investigate and apprehend all those who have been responsible for the killing of VHP leader. 

Meanwhile, BCS stated that the Christian community will no longer tolerate unwarranted attacks and the brutality of terrorizing children, priests, nuns and innocent citizens and blame them for this incidence.  The burning of churches and homes of Christians is despicable and painful. 

Fr Thomas Chellan, in his testimony, stated that he was currently the director of pastoral center at Kandhamal district of Orissa.  When he saw the mob coming, Fr Chellan along with another brother priest and a nun jumped over the compound wall and escaped into the woods.  Upon his return, he saw the center in flames and he took shelter in the dwelling quarter of a Hindu resident.  However, the mob broke open the doors and pulled out the sister and started to beat her and tore her clothes.  When Fr Chellan intervened to protest, he was also beaten mercilessly and stripped off his clothes.  Later both of them were paraded in the streets.  It was fortunate that both of them survived the attempt to immolate by the angry mob.

Fr Edward Sequeira, who runs a home for leprosy patients and an orphanage found himself in the midst of the mob who ransacked his office and the orphanage.  To save himself, he hid in the toilet.  However, the mob torched the entire orphanage and in the process tied one of the Hindu caretakers and threw her into the flames.  Fr Edward had lost consciousness.  However, they were able to retrieve him after the fire was put out and rushed him to Birla Medical Centre which is around 200 kilometers away from his location.  He is right now in the ICU of one of the hospitals in Mumbai with multiple fractures, burns and internal injuries. 

Both these priests bravely state that they will go back to serve the poorest of the poor.


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Comment on this article

  • Jay, U.S.A.

    Fri, Sep 05 2008

    This is so sad. Why is there no CBI investigation? Why are no outside relief agencies allowed in to help? Why no Human Rights groups allowed to investigate? How can we be sure what is happening? How can we be sure the Orissa govt. is not complicit? I worry Orissa is becoming a hindutva fascist state, and nobody seems to care!!!

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