Andhra Pradesh: Catholic bishop kidnapped and beaten for hours
Msgr. Gallela Prasad is the bishop of Cuddapah and was returning from Kadapa district, where he celebrated Mass. The car IN which was traveling was stopped by unknown persons, who blindfolded him and beat up the driver and prelate all night. The Telugu Federation of Churches filed a complaint and asked the authorities to register the case to "ensure the safety of Christians."
Secunderabad (AsiaNews) - The Christian community of Andhra Pradesh is again under attack. This time, one of the local Church leaders has been targeted: Msgr. Gallela Prasad, bishop of the diocese of Cuddapah. The bishop was attacked by unknown assailants as he returned from Karunagari (in Kadapa district), where he celebrated Mass. The Federation of Churches Telugu (FTC), the apex body of various Christian denominations in the United Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, strongly condemned "the cruel aggression" against the Catholic bishop.
The incident occurred on April 25, but it was made public only yesterday. It was reported by the news site Matters India, quoting the statement of Archbishop Thumma Bala of Hyderabad, chairman of the Christian Federation.
The Archbishop said that Msgr. Prasad was attacked while he was in the car, returning from Kadapa, about 425 km south of Hyderabad (the capital of Telangana). The car carrying the bishop was stopped by unknown persons, who blindfolded the religious and his driver and then locked them in an unfamiliar place. Here they were beaten for hours throughout the night.
Msgr. Bala said: "It's amazing that such violent atrocities have been perpetrated against a senior member of the minority community." The President of the FTC has condemned "the merciless attack against a person who has devoted his whole life to God and to the service of the needy and the marginalized." The archbishop then asked the police and the authorities to register the case and arrest those responsible for "this heinous crime, in order to ensure justice and security for minorities and protect the lives of the leaders of religious communities."
The aggression against the Catholic bishop is not the first incident of violence against Christians in Andhra Pradesh, even though it is the first perpetrated against religious leaders. For some time the Christian minority has been the target of Hindu extremists, who in 2014 also killed a Protestant pastor.