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Priest among suspects in Indian rector's killing

Police link three men to Bangalore seminary murder

  • Christopher Joseph, Kochi
  • India
  • March 21, 2014
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A Catholic priest and two other men have been arrested in connection with the murder of a seminary rector in southern India’s Bangalore almost a year ago, police said today.

Father Elias Daniel, a Carmelite priest, and two other people identified only as William Patrick and Peter, are now in police custody.

"We have very strong evidence that these people have done it," said senior police officer Pranab Mohanthy, who leads the investigation, referring to the murder of Father K. J. Thomas of Bangalore's St. Peters seminary on March 31 last year.

Police said there was "a lot of resentment" towards the rector by the accused, who felt they had been sidelined for important posts in the seminary.

According to police, the accused had hatched a "criminal conspiracy" and selected Easter Day when most occupants of the seminary would be on leave.

"They went in prepared to kill," said Mohanthy, additional commissioner of police, who led the team of detectives investigating the murder. He said they were armed and made no attempt to mask themselves. "They were ready to kill whoever confronted them," he said. 

Church sources admitted the case is linked to a three-decade-old ethnic language issue simmering in the Church in Bangalore. Local Catholics who speak Kannada say they are neglected in policy decisions and appointments in the Church, which is dominated by migrant Catholics from neighboring Tamil Nadu and Kerala states.

The police examined 2,000 people in connection with the case and a large volume of call details was analyzed. Five people, including three Catholic priests, were subjected to narco-analysis tests.

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