Fr. Belisario, PIME associate: Our parish was robbed (Photos)

Chandpukur's mission is located north of Rajshahi. Thieves stole the animals that financed the hostel. The little girls sleeping next to the stable unharmed. The thieves seemed well prepared. All motives are being examined, in addition to the economic factor. The mission hosts 300 poor children, including many orphans, and cares for people of all faiths.

Rajshahi (AsiaNews) - Unknown assailants entered the Chandpukur mission in Rajshahi diocese overnight and stole the parish animals, in short the goods with greatest market value.

Fr. Belisario Ciro Montoya, associated as "fidei donum" of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) in Bangladesh, who has been pastor here for a month says "we are in shock the animals were used to buy rice to feed the 300 children we host in the hostel".

The stable is located next to the girls' dormitory. “Thank goodness - he adds - nothing happened to the little girls. It was a miracle that they did not suffer violence or rape. "

The priest is visibly strained by what happened: "There is a lot of sadness and fear because just as they managed to break in and steal, they could have hurt us."

He says that the theft occurred around 1 am when everyone was asleep.

Thieves entered from the corner of the mission that houses the animals, broke the lock on the gate and took away two oxen and a cow. “On the market, cattles of that size are worth 2,500 euros. In fact, we were also going to sell them and use the proceeds to buy food. "

Chandpukur's mission is composed of the Church of the King of Peace, with two priests including the parish priest, the school, the dispensary and two hostels for boys and girls. The girls live together with the sisters of the local Shanti Rani (Queen of Peace) congregation.

Belisario reports: “We have neither walls nor security guards. The only area with a small fence is that of the girls' hostel and the stable ".

Around 6,500 Christians live in the area, out of a total population of two million Hindus and Muslims. “It is among  the largest missions in the diocese - he continues - but also one of the poorest. A religious sister who is a nurse runs the medical dispensary for first aid".

The theft was discovered this morning before mass, when the men who take care of the animals found the fence empty. The parish priest filed a complaint and “the policemen promised that they will help us find the animals. We sent some people to the local market, looking for livestock, but I doubt they will ever be found. Meanwhile, the police have opened an investigation and set up a round of guards."

"It's a real shame - he adds - because with the money obtained from the sale we also wanted to expand the hostel. Here we host several orphans and very poor Santhal and Garo tribal children, from kindergarten to 10th grade, that is, up to 18 years. The conditions are difficult, the rooms are small, in the summer it is very hot and up to three children sleep in the same bed. But it's still better than at home, where they don't have the opportunity to study and often don't have food."

The investigations, he continues, “will also be aimed at those who in recent days have come to the mission to evaluate animals. It is not excluded that there are accomplices among the villagers because the criminals knew exactly where to go. The mission is very dear to the whole population because we host and care for people of all faiths. However, other reasons besides the economic factor are not excluded ”.

The most important thing, he concludes, “is that they didn't touch the girls, that they didn't notice anything. And even if they heard something, they didn't make a noise, they didn't attract attention. Here we try to give them a better future through education. Without the Church's mission, they would be condemned to go home, marry as children and suffer from the condition of servility that oppresses them. We will continue our work despite what happened. " (A.C.F.)