Bishop Prasad Gallela of Cuddapah was blind-folded, handcuffed, beaten and forcibly taken away while travelling home after celebrating Mass at Karunagiri Shrine. (Photo supplied)
A Catholic bishop in southern India was kidnapped and assaulted by unknown attackers demanding money. Bishop Prasad Gallela of Cuddapah in Andhra Pradesh state was blind-folded, handcuffed and forcibly taken away while he was travelling home after celebrating Mass at Karunagiri Shrine April 25. The 54-year-old said that unidentified kidnappers came in two vehicles and took "me to an undisclosed location." "They hit me and punched me resulting in injuries all over my body. I did not resist," Bishop Gallela told ucanews.com. "Police are trying to find those behind the incident," Bishop Gallela said. The bishop said that the kidnappers kept on asking him about the financial transactions of the diocese. The kidnappers also demanded 5 million rupees (US$75,325) and said that since "I help so many people, I should help them too," the bishop recounted. "When I asked who they were, they said they are from the police but police does not behave like this," he said. The prelate said that early the next day the kidnappers let him go and left him 90 kilometers away from his diocese is based. "They appeared to be paid goons and non-Christians from the way they talked and behaved," said Bishop Gallela. Archbishop Thumma Bala of Hyderabad has condemned the incident. "It is unbelievable that such a violent atrocity is perpetrated on a high ranking religious leader of a minority community, who is totally dedicated to the service of the needy and marginalized," the archbishop said in a statement. Archbishop Bala appealed to law enforcement authorities to investigate the case thoroughly and bring to book the culprits. Cuddapah, which has some 114,800 Catholics, is a suffragan diocese of Hyderabad Archdiocese.
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