Pune: Deacons Escape Pune Blast, Help Victims


Pune, Feb 20: Two newly ordained deacons, who narrowly escaped the bomb explosion in Pune, said they were happy to rescue several victims.

Deacons Joemon Kurusingal and Roy Mathews, students of Pune’s Papal seminary, were ordained on February 13 morning. They were going to visit patients in government-managed hospital in the city later in the evening when the bomb exploded near a restaurant they had just passed.

The blast killed nine people, including two foreigners, and wounded 45 others.

“I saw the place strewn with flesh and blood,” said Deacon Mathews and added he saw “a chaotic scene, with people weeping loudly and thousands of people crowding the area.”

The shaken seminarians then helped carry dead bodies and the injured before the police cordoned off the area.

The duo was among 16 seminarians from various dioceses who were ordained deacons that day. Deacon Kurusingal belongs to Jammu-Srinagar diocese in Jammu and Kashmir state while Deacon Mathews is being trained for Kalyan diocese in Maharashtra state.

Seminary rector Jesuit Father Pradeep Sequeira said his students’ involvement “was a real witness to Christ and sharing the grief of the victims and the city.”

Capuchin Bishop Peter Celestine Elampassery of Jammu-Srinagar also lauded his deacon’s “prompt response.”

On Feb. 14, all churches in Poona diocese prayed for the blast victims, Father Malcolm Sequeira, diocesan spokesperson said.

The priest said he had rushed to the blast site after hearing the news that night and spoke to the police who did not want any helpers. “By 1.30 am, all bodies were cleared and police had cordoned off the area,” he added.

Police said the restaurant, German Bakery, packed by foreign nationals was a “soft target” of terrorists. However, their real targets were Osho Ashram, which has hundreds of foreigners, and Chabhad House, a Jewish prayer centre, but failed to enter them.

Police said commandoes are posted at the two places frequented by mostly foreigners.

Ma Amrit Sadhana, spokesperson of Osho International Meditation Resort, said her center has “beefed up security” as they fear terrorists targeting them to spread panic “as visitors to Osho commune come here from all over the world.”

Acharya (teacher) Rajneesh set up the ashram in 1974.


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