Published on: 4:16 pm, May 2, 2016 Story By: Mattersindia Reporter
Kurnool — An alleged involvement of a priest of the diocese who hired goons to assault his Bishop has come to light in the recent kidnap of Bishop Prasad Gallela of Kadapa diocese in the southern state of Telengana.
The DSP (Deputy Superintendent of Police) of Mydackur Mr Rama Krishnaya, Rural Circle Inspector of Police, Mr. Naga Bushanam and Sub Inspector Mr. Raja Gopal are investigating the case.
In connection with the kidnap case, the police team arrested a priest of Kadapa diocese, Father Raja Reddy from Jammalamadugu of Kadapa district.
Fr Reddy who runs an institution called “My Daddy Home” which houses an international school and college is considered a friend of the Bishop who gifted an expensive Innova car recently on the prelate’s birthday.
Unconfirmed sources disclose that Fr Reddy had asked for the office of the Diocesan Procurator in the recent transfers which Bishop Gallela declined.
Unconfirmed reports also state that the Bishop’s driver who was kidnapped along with the prelate identified the room where they were confined looked familiar to “My Daddy’s Home” because of the iron grilled gate and the alleged possession of a video of bishop’s torture which the police recovered from Fr Reddy’s possession.
Sources also said, “Ten hired goons who kidnapped and tortured the prelate have been arrested.”
The Hyderabad archbishop Thumma Bala and all the Bishops of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have strongly condemned the attack.
Archbishop Bala said that Gallela has “fully devoted his whole life to God and is totally dedicated to the service of the needy and marginalized.”
The prelate and his driver were allegedly kidnapped by unknown people at Nagasanepalle village of Kazhipet Mandal of Kadapa district belonging to Kadapa Diocese April 25.
The ordeal which started at about 10.00 am in the morning ended only the next morning at 2.00 AM.
According to 54-year- old Bishop Gallela, “I was returning to Kadapa after celebrating the feast day Mass at Karunagiri at about 10 AM. On an isolated road, a jeep overtook my car and stopped in front. Immediately another Innova (car) came and stopped at the right side of my car. So my driver could not proceed ahead.”
The prelate continued, “A man in police uniform came out and told me that he was an Intelligence Officer and wanted some details.” In no time about ten people with sticks and other sharp instruments came out from the jeep and blindfolded me and my driver. They dumped me in the gap between the front seat and the back seat. They tied my hands with my sash and went on beating me with sticks and some sharp things. They were stamping my neck with their feet. Another driver started driving my car.” On April 29 the bishop showed many black scars left by the sticks on his body especially the arms as well as clotted blood marks visible under his eyes and his almost bald head had scars left by blade like instrument.
“They drove us to a room and went on torturing me. They gave me water frequently and curd rice once. They took mine and the driver’s ATMs and asked for their PINs. I didn’t remember mine, but my driver gave his. They asked me for my e-mail id and password which I gave. They questioned why some transfers were given and how much money the diocese has,” the prelate said in a voice choking with emotion.
Both the prelate and his driver were released on the road at about 2.00 am. “The milestone at the spot of the release had the inscription “Tadipatri 90 Kilo Meters”. They reached the Bishop’s House by 4.00 AM.
Bishop Prasad’s driver informed that rupees 4,000 (USD 60) had been withdrawn with his ATM at a place called Allagadda of Kurnool district which is adjacent to Kadapa district. “In the room Bishop was being tortured, I tried to peep through the blindfold and could see some grill,” the driver claimed.
Kadapa diocese has a Catholic population of 81,000, where 95 percent of Catholics are landless agricultural laborers.