Catholic priest hospitalized after attempt on life in Assam-One more Indian state under radicals

Guwahati: A Catholic priest in Assam has been hospitalized with serious knife wounds after an attack on his life by an unidentified person.Fr. Sushil John Soren, pastor Bhirobkhund parish under Tezpur diocese, is currently undergoing treatment at Guwahati Neurological Research Centre.Bishop Michael Akasius Toppo of Tezpur informed , June 20 that the incident took place the previous night. “We do not know the motive for the attack,” he added.

Fr Soren, who is in his early 50s, is the first pastor of Bhirobkhund parish, which was started only three years ago. The parish campus has a hostel for boys and convent.

Narrating the incident, Bishop Toppo said the priest had gone to the hostel to conduct night prayers around 9 pm. As he was returning to the presbytery some 100 meters away, he saw a stranger approaching him. Sensing trouble, Fr Soren started going toward the hostel so that he could be with people. The stranger also followed him.

Fr Soren then turned around to confront the man, who aimed a chopper at the priest’s neck. The priest ducked to save his head, but received serious wounds on both hands. As the priest shouted for help, boys from the hostel and workers in the campus rushed to his aid. Seeing the crowd, the attacker escaped with his weapon, Bishop Toppo said.

The priest was then rushed to a civil hospital, some 25 km away. By then police and officials from the headquarters of Udalguri district reached the hospital. On seeing the priest in serious condition, they made arrangements to shift him to the hospital in Guwahati, the commercial capital of Assam state, some 100 km south of Tezpur.

Meanwhile an all Church delegation visited the mission station and took stock of the situation and expressed its solidarity with the priest and the parishioners.

The attacker is still absconding, and the police have launched a manhunt.

A first information report also has been registered.

On hearing about the attack, the Assam State Commission for Minorities directed its secretary to call for a report from the Deputy Commissioner of the district for a report.