Priest arrested in Madhya Pradesh over the suicide of a 17-year-old 'had nothing to do with it'
by Nirmala Carvalho

The name of Fr Prakash Damor does not appear in the note the victim wrote before hanging herself. Yet police arrested him over it. Three young men had harassed the young student and threatened to kidnap her.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - The name of Fr Prakash Damor, arrested by the police in Madhya Pradesh for allegedly instigating the suicide of a 17-year-old woman, is nowhere to be found in the note she left before taking her own life, said Fr Rockey Shah, spokesman for the Diocese of Jhabua, where the arrest took place.

The priest is still in the custody of the Ranapur police, and "We are doing our best to get him released on bail. We hope and pray that justice will prevail," Fr Shah said.

In the Diocese’s official statement released yesterday, Fr Shah describes the facts. Fr Prakash, assistant parish priest of St Michael Catholic Church in Ranapur, was arrested by local police on 15 January, following the suicide of a young woman found hanged on January 4.

She was a student at the Catholic missionary school in Jhabua, in 11th grade, and lived in the Sneh Sadan female hostel.

After the suicide, the police found a note at the scene of the event. In it, "the name of Fr Prakash Damor is not mentioned," the diocese’s spokesman explained.

A few days later however, "the family of the deceased brought a letter to the police saying that the dead woman had written it to a friend of hers. In this letter the name of Fr Prakash appears." It is on the basis of this letter, "which contains neither date nor signature, that the police arrested him,” said Fr Shah.

Speaking about an already complex story, Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), told AsiaNews that before she hanged himself "the victim had told her older sister that she was being harassed by three young men who had threatened to kidnap her. The names of these three were mentioned in the note. All the police have said so far is that it had found the suicide note but it never made its content public.”

The GCIC extends to the family “its condolences for the tragic death of the young woman. Justice must be done for the victim, but the real culprits must be found."