Odisha Church recalls priest’s martyrdom

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Balasore (Story By: Santosh Digal, Matters India): Thousands of Christians and others on f10hs13Wednesday thronged a Catholic church in a remote village of Odisha to pay homage to Fr Arul Doss who was killed by a fundamentalist mob 16 years ago.

Bishop Simon Kaipuram of Balasore says the number of pilgrims at Anandapur Catholic Church in Mayurbhanj district has increased manifold over the years.

“It shows that people are aware of his missionary contribution and service, especially among Ho tribal people, with whom he lived and worked,” the Vincentian prelate told Matters India.

The day-long celebrations included meetings and processions.

A mob of Hindu fanatics killed Fr. Doss in Jamabani, a remote village in Mayurbhanj district, on the night of September 1, 1999.

The priest, a native of Tamil Nadu, was 35 then and had been the priest of the Anandapur church for five years.

Father Prasan Kumar Pradhan of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar archdiocese hails Fr. Doss as “a real missionary, who served the Ho tribe in Odisha. His witness to the Gospel and message of Christ is a matter of emulation.”

Fr. Doss had arrived at Jamabani on September 1, 1999, along with two church workers, Darsan Birua and Kate Singh Khuntia, and held a prayer meeting there. According to some reports, they were watching a cultural program after the prayer meeting when a group of 10 to 15 persons, armed with sticks, bows and arrows, attacked them.

Fr. Doss and the villagers tried to escape, but the attackers pierced the Catholic priest’s body with arrows. The attackers also set fire to the local church before leaving Khuntia in a critical condition.

After prolonged investigation by Central Bureau of Investigation, a federal probe agency, and the subsequent court trail, the mob leader Dara Singh and others were convicted in the killing. Singh is serving life imprisonment in Odisha for killing Australian missionary Reverend Graham Stuart Stains and his two minor sons on the night of January 22, 1999, in another remote village in Mayurbhanj district..

Singh had alleged links with several Hindu radical groups such as Bajrang Dal (party of the strong and stout) and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (national volunteers’ corps).

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  1. Stephen says:

    Any more information about the family background and native village of Fr Arul Doss ?

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