Story by Malini Manjoly, SCN from Union of Catholic Asian News
Three masked men shot and wounded a Catholic priest in Mokama in the Indian state of Bihar last night.
The motives for the attack are unclear.
Father Michael Ignatius, the local parish priest, received four gunshot wounds which shattered his hands but are not life threatening. He was rushed by police escort to Kurji Holy Family Hospital, Patna, where he is still being treated.
Father Ignatius says he was watching television at his residence when the attack took place. The men came into his unlocked room, fired at him and left. As he fell to the ground and called for help, they returned and fired again. He claimed they were aiming for his chest but he blocked the bullets with his hands.
Assistant parish priest Father Alex Vedamackiam was in his room at the time and was unharmed.
The watchman at the residence recognized one of the attackers, a local Catholic, who has now fled. Police have taken his younger brother into custody.
The attackers’ motives are still under investigation. Police have ruled out robbery as the watchman’s cell phone was the only thing stolen.
Mokama is a notorious crime black spot. Father Matthew Uzhuthal, vicar general of Patna archdiocese, was stabbed to death in 2005 by a youth who allegedly demanded money. The murdered cleric had also been parish priest in Mokama for several years.