Bandits attack Catholic priest in eastern India

.- A Catholic priest in the Archdiocese of Ranchi, located in eastern India, was seriously wounded Aug. 21st while resisting a robbery attempt, reported UCA News.

According to reports, 20 masked youths, aged 15-25, entered the room of Fr. Thomas Powathil, director of Lievens Academy in Lohardaga, at around 9:30 p.m. and attacked him with a gun and hockey sticks.

A little later, another priest of the high school, Fr. Deonis Xess, found Fr. Powathil lying on the floor bleeding.

A semiconscious Fr. Powathil reportedly told Fr. Xess that the youths tied him to a chair and demanded money, saying they belonged to a Maoist gang. Local police said, however, that the attackers were not Maoists, but local youth that suspected the school has a "lot of money." The attackers did not find any money but took the priest's cell phone before they fled the church compound.

Father Xess said neither he nor the security guard had noticed the group entering the school compound. He said he did not hear the commotion in Fr. Powathil's house over the noise of the parish's electricity generator.  

The wounded priest was rushed to local St. Ursula Hospital and was sent to a larger hospital in Ranchi upon the local auxiliary bishop’s arrival.

Lievens Academy is an English-language high school that was started eight years ago in honor of Jesuit Father Constance Lievens, a Belgian missioner who made the first Catholic converts among the tribal people in eastern India in 1885. 

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