10/25/2016, 16.30
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Church slams lazy student who assaulted a priest in Mangalore

by Nirmala Carvalho

Fr Michael Santhumayor is Milagres College administrator. He had reprimanded the student for skipping classes, warning he might have to repeat courses. The priest was taken to hospital whilst the assailant was arrested. Student protests, calling for greater security.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) – The Diocese of Mangalore (Karnataka) has condemned the attack on 20 October against Fr Michael Santhumayor, campus administrator of Milagres College.

Mohammed Shahnavaz, a third-year student in Business administration, assaulted the priest because he had reprimanded him for his absence from many college lectures.

Church leaders in the diocese as well as faculty and students presented a memorandum to the police station, expressing their solidarity with the priest and concern over the act of violence. The assailant was tracked down thanks to CCTV footage, and was taken into custody today.

After the assault, Fr Santhumayor was admitted to a private hospital in Valencia (Mangalore).

The memorandum of the diocese and university administration was given to Police Commissioner M. Chandra Sekhar. The statement describes the attack against the priest, who has worked in education for more than ten years.

CCTV footage shows Mohammed Shahnawaz waiting for the principal to be alone, before hitting him hard as the latter made his way to lunch. Afterward he fled with the help of some friends.

College teachers noted that the student has a past of violence and misconduct, including the destruction of the attendance registry. In fact, the clergyman’s warning that his failure to attend classes could mean that he would not be allowed to take final exams prompted the violence.

Following the step taken by the diocese, led by Bishop Aloysius Paul D'Souza, the police set up three search teams. Police Commissioner Sekhar also alerted the college and staff to monitor acts of violence and anyone involved in such behaviour in order to prevent future incidents.

At the same time, teachers, parents' associations and students demonstrated in front of the office of the deputy commissioner, demanding greater protection and security.

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