From Vatican Radio:
India’s minority Christian community has come under attack again, and this time it is a Catholic bishop who is the victim. Matters India news website on Thursday quoted the Federation of Telugu Churches (FTC), saying Bishop Prasad Gallela of Cuddapah was attacked by unidentified persons when he was returning from a religious function at Karunagari in Kadapa district. The incident took place on April 25 but was made public only on Thursday. “It is unbelievable that such a violent atrocity is perpetrated on a high ranking religious leader of a minority community,” said Archbishop Thumma Bala of Hyderabad, the president of FTC, the apex body of various Christian denominations in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana states. Bishop Gallela and his car driver were “blind folded, forcibly confined and brutally attacked for several hours stretching through the night,” Arcbishop Bala said. He condemned “the ruthless manner” of attack on a religious person who has “fully devoted his whole life to God and is totally dedicated to the service of the needy and marginalized.”
Crux adds this background:
Gallela serves in a diocese with a Catholic population of 81,000, where 95 percent of Catholics are landless agricultural laborers made up of “Dalits,” meaning the “untouchables” under India’s ancient caste system. One priority for the diocese under Gallela’s leadership has been providing educational opportunities for children, especially child agricultural workers. Bala also appealed to police and law enforcement authorities to probe the case and arrest those responsible for “the heinous crime, so that safety and security of minorities can be ensured and lives of leaders of religious communities be protected.” Police officials have told Church leaders in the area that they have “good leads” and hope to make arrests in the case soon. In an interview with the Union of Asian Catholic News on Friday, Gallela 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,” Gallela told ucanews.com. “Police are trying to find those behind the incident,” Gallela said. He said the kidnappers repeatedly asked him about financial transactions of the diocese. The kidnappers demanded 5 million rupees (US$75,325) and said that since “I help so many people, I should help them too,” the bishop recounted.