MUMBAI, India – A Catholic priest was threatened by a man with a machete in India on Dec. 11.
The incident happened in the southern state of Karnataka, in the Belgavai district near the border of the state of Goa, a traditionally Catholic area of India.
The attack was on Father Francis D’Souza, the priest-in-charge of St. Joseph the Worker Church. The attacker attempted to slash the priest outside his residence when D’Souza investigated the cause of a dog barking.
The machete-wielding assailant just missed the priest and then jumped the compound wall. The events were captured by CCTV.
“Around 3.15 pm on Saturday, the person entered the old presbytery where his [D’Souza] Labrador dog was kept. Hearing his dog bark, Father Francis went to check, found the door opened, and a man standing with the sword, seeing Father Francis, the man raised the sword, uttered something unintelligible, the priest got frightened and ran down the steps, followed by that man,” said Bishop Derek Fernandes of Belgaum.
“We do not know the motive of the attacker; he came with a sword and wire. The police have been helpful and provided protection. The police have made out a case of attempted robbery,” the bishop told Crux.
The authorities have arrested a suspect in the case, and the man was positively identified by D’Souza.
““I am afraid,” the priest told Crux.
“I am alone the entire day, till the other priest returns after his school hours,” he said, adding that he is feeling better and more confident in the days since the attack.
“I have begun my routine work. When the police got the clue of the culprit, they came to me with his photo for the identification. I recognised the person and later on they told me that they have arrested him and put behind bars. I have no professional help, but one my parishioner’s is staying with me,” D’Souza said.