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Priest denies Indian couple were killed because they converted

Catholics' bloody murder was 'nothing to do with religion'

Christopher Joseph, Kochi
India

June 24, 2014

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A Tibetan Catholic husband and wife were victims of a vicious murder in eastern India last week but the crime is not related to their religion or recent conversion, an official of the local diocese has claimed.

"It is wrong to give a religious twist to this. It has nothing to do with religion," said Father Alex Gurung, the public relations officer for Darjeeling diocese in West Bengal.

The attack took place in the remote Budhwar district of the state's Kalimpong subdivision on the night of June 17. Several media reports suggested that the couple may have been attacked because of their Christian faith. But Fr Gurung, who visited the scene and talked to neighbors and witnesses, emphasized on Monday that the assailants "just happened to be Hindus."

The couple were hacked to death and their 12-year-old daughter's eye was gouged out. She is now in critical condition in hospital. The couple's four-year-old younger daughter escaped the attack by running away from the family home.

"This was purely an act of vengeance," said Fr Grung, explaining that the man who was killed stood as a witness against his attackers some years ago in a separate court case.

The killers, a Hindu father and son, were arrested soon after the incident. 

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