Satna carolers: priest gets bail after daylong drama

By Matters India Reporter

New Delhi: A Catholic priest arrested for alleged forced conversion charge has been released on bail on Dec. 15, hours after he was arrested and produced before a trial court in Satna town, Madhya Pradesh state.

Father George Mangalapilly was among 30 seminarians and two priests police detained on December 14 night following allegation from right wing Hindu activists that they were involved in illegal religious conversion, a charge the priest and Church leaders deny. The priest is a professor at St Ephrem’s Theological College in Satna.

They were taken into police custody while singing carol in a village in the outskirts of Satna town, some 10 km from the seminary.

The police produced the priest before the court and opposed his bail. The court, however, granted him bail, says Father Rony Maruthummoottil, director of Satna diocese’s social work director department.

“Now everyone is back home,” he told Matters India later in the evening.

Meanwhile more groups joined in condemning the attack on carolers.

Archbishop Leo Cornelio of Bhopal, who heads the Catholic Church in Madhya Pradesh, expressed shoc at the violence against Catholic priests and seminarians.

Bishop Joseph Kodakallil of Satna expressed shock and said, Christians in Madhya Pradesh “are deeply saddened and urged the government to take immediate measures to prevent such undemocratic violence against minorities as Christmas coming closure, we expect more such un ethic and unacceptable violence against missionaries.

“Violent means will give violent freedom. That would be a menace to the world and to India herself. We have the power to build a peaceful, tolerant and prosperous India, the statement added.

Father Anish Emmanuel, a visiting professor who was among the detained, told Matters India December 15 that the seminary team has conducted Christmas program in a neighboring village since the inception of the seminary 25 years ago.

Father Emmanuel, pastor of Dewra mission station of Satna diocese, said the vehicle that the radicals torched belonged to Fransalian priests who went to the police station to enquire about the seminarians. The Hindu radicals assaulted the three Fransalians as well as another group of five priests from the Satna bishops’ house who had gone to the police station. “I was physically assaulted inside the station premises, but luckily a policeman saved me,” he added.

The police released the Church team around 2 am, but asked the ten priests and three seminarians to report to the station by 7 am. “We are still at the police station” Father Emmanuel said around 10:30 am.

The priest also said the Church was trying to file police complaint about the torching of the vehicle as well as attacks on them. The Hindu radicals on the other hand wanted to file a case against the Church team for alleged conversion. “They had also brought a man from the village who alleged the Church had given him 5,000 rupees for becoming a Catholic. There is no truth in it,” Father Emmanuel said.

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6 thoughts on “Satna carolers: priest gets bail after daylong drama

  1. It would have been still better news when this persecution in this diocese of 50 years if it was after Christianising huge number of people. only dioceses is having 3-4 thousand Catholics to its maximum. It is publically pronounced we did not convert even a single person!!! Then y a diocese there?
    But priests and seminarians are in huge number as per the report,
    What are these Catholic priests doing there in the name of missionary priest and sisters as religious missionaries? Are they engaged in school business? Which can be done even by little trained RSS, Bajarag Dal workers too. For business, no need missionaries with holiness and obedience with humility. It is high time to revive the diocese with its purpose of evangelisation.
    Better to die like Rani Maria the FCC missionary of that locality. Praying for the suffering ones. May Lord protect you.

  2. Comfort culture as against the culture embedded in the Bethlehem Spirituality makes people intolerant…..ja while condemning the intolerant attitudes of the Hindu Outfits…time to emphasise on the Legacy of our Saviour.

  3. This will not end with paper protests and condemnations. As constitution gives freedom to live one’s faith and religion ,some may have to sacrifice to uphold this truth. Ways and means have to be devised by CBCI and freedom loving intellectuals

  4. The perpetrators of violence against innocent people have forgotten the revered Hindu belief of the Karmic law which will catch-up with the people who cause pain upon innocent people, especially if they are religious people and their spirt cries out to God for vengeance, surely he/she will send retribution not only on the villains but also on their progeny.

  5. I hate to see the innocent people suffering divine retribution for the sin undertaken by the callous evil spirit driven people.

    The State of Maharastra is leading in the nation with the highest number of slum dwellers and slums. There was a news today in one of the leading news papers that leprosy is spreading in Maharastra. Only the Christians will show mercy and love to the lepers; but the RSS rulers of Maharastra has a well orchestrated plan to terrorize the minority Christian community. Beware of some divine writing on the wall.

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