West Bengal: Claretian priests attacked

January 26, 2015 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Persecution in MPWest Bengal, January 13, 2015: A mob beat up two Claretian priests in Sahanagar village in Asansol diocese accusing them of diverting toilet water to the village canal and polluting it. The villagers later apologized to the priests after they found dead dogs in the canal water.

On Jan. 8, two local Santal men met Fr. M. Thomas, house superior, to complain about the contamination of the canal water which was adjacent to the Claretian house. They accused the toilet water of the house was diverted to the canal.

Fr Thomas was ready to clean the canal though the allegation was baseless. The priests along with a few staff were preparing to clean the channel, when about 40 men and women surrounded them and began attacking Fr Thomas with hands, bamboos and bricks.

He was beaten and paraded along the canal. They demanded that the priest open the gate of the nearby St Claret school to allow the villagers to use the pond inside its compound.

They shouted that until their demand was met they would not cease beating him. As Fr. Thomas was almost collapsing, when Fr Peter Johnson, another priest went to assist him. The mob caught hold of him and tied the hands behind. He too was beaten up.

After a long ordeal the priests managed to escape and call the police to their residence while the crowd was still shouting in front of the house. After an hour, four constables reached but they could not control the crowd. By evening there were about 300 people. They were making anti Christian slogans and issuing death threats.

The Officer In-Charge of Memari, Rakesh Singh, came with additional force and met with representatives of the local people and priests. He assured fresh water for the village promising to clean up the canal with the help of the municipality next morning.

On the following day, while cleaning the municipality employees found carcasses of dogs inside the canal.

The police on Jan. 13 called a peace meeting and a delegation from the Church and locals attended. The villagers asked pardon for what happened to the priests.

– the herald

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