11/19/2015, 00.00
BANGLADESH

As attacked Dinajpur PIME missionary remains in stable condition, his fellow priests now under police escort

Fr Piero Parolari is recovering in the military hospital in Dhaka. He is in critical but stable condition. The military are providing security to the PIME community in Dinajpur and clergymen are required to travel with a military escort. Local missionaries had never been attacked before, but foreigners are now being targeted “after the murder of Italian humanitarian worker Cesare Tavella”.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) – Father Piero Parolari, a physician and missionary with the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME), who was attacked yesterday as he cycled to the Dinajpur Medical College Hospital, "is recovering in the Department of Anesthesiology at the military hospital in Dhaka. He is heavily medicated, but doing well; conscious and responding to stimulation,” a Catholic source told AsiaNews.

Speaking about the missionary’s current health condition, the source said that Fr Parolari "is suffering from a major trauma to the head because of the beatings” inflicted by his unidentified attackers. He is also heavily bruised around the eyes, and doctors found three broken ribs. As a result, he is suffering from respiratory problems and fluids had to be drained from his lungs.

Very little has transpired with respect to the attack, which occurred yesterday around 8:30 am (local time), when Fr Parolari was riding his bicycle to work. However, the source noted that some inconsistencies have emerged in the police version of the facts.

What is known is that three men on a motorcycle attacked the priest, leaving him with slashes to the head, perhaps from a knife, as well as gunshot wounds.

Initially brought to a local hospital in Dinajpur, he was taken in the afternoon by army helicopter to the Combined Military Hospital in Bangladesh’s capital. At least "four intelligence services are investigating the case," the source noted.

Many priests in Dinajpur have been placed under military protection. And police told PIME brothers "to stay at home and only go out under escort."

In fact, tensions are still high in the Asian country "after the murder of Italian humanitarian worker Cesare Tavella and Japanese (farmer) Hoshi Kunio". The Catholic community is not a target, the source told AsiaNews, "but foreigners are, and what witnesses said about the attack (against Fr Parolari) suggests that it was premeditated."

Finally, the source noted that no one had attacked or threatened the missionaries in Dinajpur before. On the contrary, “they were quite untroubled, and did not expect what happened.” Relations with locals have always been good, so much so that priests moved on their own about without any hassle.

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