Sunday, August 31, 2008

Saved from the Fires: Fr. Edward Sequeira

Fr. Edward Sequeira SVD Rescued from Burning Narrates the Trauma

Picture of Fr. Edward Sequeira SVD

Fr. Edward Sequeira SVD reached Hyderabad early on August 30th morning after an 8 hours gruelling journey by road from Sambalpur hospital where he was undergoing treatment after he was rescued from the burning inferno that took the life of 19 year Hindu girl Rajni Majhi. His lungs have been badly affected due to inhaling for more than two hours smoke polluted air. He has been taken to Mumbai where he will be close to his family and receive the urgent medical care he needs.

He recounts his traumatic story:

"It all began around 13.00 hrs" he recalled. "I was having lunch at my single room presbytery that doubles as office, bedroom and store room. The doors were closed. I heard some one calling out, 'Father, Father.' Thinking that some one was there with some patients needing to be taken to hospital I opened the door and came out.

There was a crowd of about 20 people crowding before my room. They suddenly pulled out from behind their backs, iron rods, lathies, and wooden pieces. They started thrashing me. They wanted to me to shout 'Yesu Christu Murdabad' (Death to Jesus Christ) 'Bajrang Bali Ki Jai' (Long Live Bajrang Bali).

They continued thrashing me and then pushed me back into the room, poured diesel on the floor, some fell on by clothes and set the place on fire and bolted the room from outside.

I slipped on the diesel soaked floor, some how managed to reach the bath room where providentially there were two buckets of water - we do not have running water - and poured it all across the room. Without making much noise I bolted from inside all the doors and windows under cover of billowing smoke."

Dr. Sr. Marykutty of Handmaids of Mary who nursed him all through this stay at the hospital and then accompanied him filled in with the remaining details.
"The previous evening Fr. Edward was in a town around 300 kilometers away and when he heard of the killing of the Swamy he decided to rush back to the hostel as the kids were alone in the care of Rajani.

She had been given in adoption by her Hindu biological parents. As soon as the adopted parents got children of their own Rajani's life changed. Her natural parents refused to receive her back when the adopted parents started neglecting her and pulled her out of school for working in the house.

The sisters found her a place at father's hostel so that she could continue her studies. She had completed her plus two and had been sort of a boarding mistress to the children of leprosy patients for whom the hostel was being run.

People had advised Fr. Edward not to return to the hostel. But he knew his children needed him. And that is what he decided to do - to return to the hostel.

After locking up Fr Edward in his room the marauding crowd pushed out all the children from where they were hiding in a shed nearby. When Rajini came out running, she was tied up and thrown back in the fire!

20 Year Old Rajni Majhi Burnt to Death by the Mob
[See Separate Story:
How 20 Year Old Rajni Was Burnt to Death]

Fr. Edward told me that he sees the hand of God in all this. "He has plans for me, He kept me alive."


Shruti said...

How can we help them? what can we do? Please tell me

Indians are told to be every peaceful and innocent...but they are all same ...worst then Pakistani....

How expert our goverment has beocme in corruption that these thing never came on new channel nobody is aware of this horrible incident!!!

janet said...

This is really very shocking to know what is happening in orissa -I have no words to to express my feelings, living in the same country and yet unaware of the situation in orissa, the government must take stringent action against the regligious fundamentalists for creating so much of inhuman atrocities on simple and harmless people, I only pray for peace in this place.

G Angela

Janet said...

It is heart rendering to see the atrocities of people against their fellow men.It is unbelievable to see that people can be so cruel. They do no realise that the same hands that do evil will reap the crops of evil. Are they humans or aliens, to harm innocent children and most vulnerable people? I'm sure they do not even have the courage to come out into the open and defend their dirty doings, they are all children of the dark.
I only hope that people in authority will take appropriate measures soon to prevent these horrific episodes and not use such events to their advantage in politics. How can you be so blind? If this is what you are using your authority for then shame on you!!And beware, this might just come around and knock on the doors of your family, which at the moment is safe, or so you wish to think.