Saturday, August 30, 2008

"They Ordered Me to Have Sex with the Nun": Fr. Chellen

Fr. Thomas Chellen Describes the Orissa Mob Ordeal

Picture of Fr. Thomas Chellen

Fr. Thomas Chellen, director of the pastoral center that was destroyed with a bomb, had a narrow escape after a Hindu mob nearly set him on fire. Currently undergoing treatment at a Catholic hospital in Orissa's capital Bhubaneswar, Fr. Chellen had this horrifying experience to share with Catholic News Service:
"They had poured kerosene on my head, and one held a matchbox in his hands to light the fire. But thanks to divine providence, in the end, they did not do that. Otherwise, I would not have been there to tell this horror," the 55-year-old priest, director of the pastoral center at Konjamendi in the Indian state of Orissa, told Catholic News Service in a telephone interview from his hospital bed Aug. 28.

When a Hindu mob of 500 people broke into the pastoral center around noon Aug. 24, Father Chellen said he fled through the backyard with another priest and a nun.

"It was heartbreaking for us to watch from a distance the entire complex go up in smoke," said Father Chellen, who had supervised the construction of the center that opened in 2001 and could accommodate 200 people.

"They vandalized everything and set it on fire. It has been reduced to ashes," he added.

As the three watched from a distance, some other priests told them to flee.

"We fled to the jungles and came in the night to take shelter in the house of a Hindu friend and spent the night there," Father Chellen said, adding that the second priest left them to join other priests.

The following morning, he said, the Hindu family moved the priest and nun to an adjacent vacant house and locked it to give the impression that no one was inside.

However, the Hindu mobs overheard the priest speaking on his cell phone, broke into the room and dragged him and the nun outside.

"They began our crucifixion parade," said Father Chellen. The gang of about 50 armed Hindus "beat us up and led us like culprits along the road" to the burned pastoral center.

"There they tore my shirt and started pulling off the clothes of the nun. When I protested, they beat me hard with iron rods. Later, they took the sister inside (and) raped her while they went on kicking and teasing me, forcing (me) to say vulgar words," said the priest who has cuts, bruises and swollen tissue all over his body and stitches on his face.

"Later both of us, half-naked, were taken to the street, and they ordered me to have sex with the nun in public, saying nuns and priests do it. As I refused, they went on beating me and dragged us to the nearby government office. Sadly, a dozen policemen were watching all this," he said.

Angry at his plea to the police for help, the mob beat the bleeding priest again.

Later, a government official and members of the mob took the priest and the nun to the police station, where Father Chellen said he was kicked in the face.


"The four-hour ordeal ended when a senior police officer arrived in the evening," said Father Chellen.

The priest said one of the most hurtful things about the incident was that some local Hindus whom he knew were watching the events and ignored his requests for help.
Asianews has a follow up story: Orissa: after his calvary Father Thomas willing to go back to serve those who hurt him

19 comments:

don paul said...

felt very sad at the plight of the ppl over there at orissa...

Francisco said...

This whole business is horrifying. I have the greatest respect for Hinduism, but can't help wondering why unequivocal condemntations have yet to be heard...

Belinda said...

We are praying in Canada for Divine protection and grace to endure.

Lloyd Butello said...

What ungrateful men these extremist are...I am sure that either they or thier children studied in christian schools or were taken care in a christian hospital when sick or were taken care in a christian orphanage when left alone by their parents and relatives or were looked after in a home for the aged or leperosy/aids/cancer victims or given food,clothing and shelter when affected by the floods,earth-quake and cyclone.if this is the 'price'of being a disciple of jesus,then continue your wicked stunts and remember christinity will sprout all the more with new strength and vitality and no power however strong can stop it!!

Anonymous said...

These horrible events reminds me of Sujatha Khand, Jhabua, MP, a couple years back. But it was not in this extend, though very much similar.I had witnessed the whole incident that took place in Jhabua.
What I don't understand, is why should Christians have to suffer all these persecution? Are they not Indian citizens? Do they not have right to protection to life and property mentioned in the Fundemental Rights? Why not Central Govt do anything to protect the minority? Everytime when everything is over, different committees are set to enquire about it and no justice is given to the Christians. What is the result of the committes and enquiries made by govt on Jhabua incident???????
Are christians worthless that any fundementalist feel like thrashing them for no mistakes of theirs or for anything happens elsewhere? Or is it because they suffer any persecution silently and helplessly?????? can't the centre interfere when the state govt fail to protect the minority????
Fr. Raju Mathew Allumpuram MST
(frraju@msn.com)

Anonymous said...

These horrible events reminds me of Sujatha Khand, Jhabua, MP, a couple years back. But it was not in this extend, though very much similar.I had witnessed the whole incident that took place in Jhabua.
What I don't understand, is why should Christians have to suffer all these persecution? Are they not Indian citizens? Do they not have right to protection to life and property mentioned in the Fundemental Rights? Why not Central Govt do anything to protect the minority? Everytime when everything is over, different committees are set to enquire about it and no justice is given to the Christians. What is the result of the committes and enquiries made by govt on Jhabua incident???????
Are christians worthless that any fundementalist feel like thrashing them for no mistakes of theirs or for anything happens elsewhere? Or is it because they suffer any persecution silently and helplessly?????? can't the centre interfere when the state govt fail to protect the minority????
Fr. Raju Mathew Allumpuram MST
(frraju@msn.com)

Fr. Raju Mathew Allumpuram MST said...

These horrible events reminds me of Sujatha Khand, Jhabua, MP, a couple years back. But it was not in this extend, though very much similar.I had witnessed the whole incident that took place in Jhabua.
What I don't understand, is why should Christians have to suffer all these persecution? Are they not Indian citizens? Do they not have right to protection to life and property mentioned in the Fundemental Rights? Why not Central Govt do anything to protect the minority? Everytime when everything is over, different committees are set to enquire about it and no justice is given to the Christians. What is the result of the committes and enquiries made by govt on Jhabua incident???????
Are christians worthless that any fundementalist feel like thrashing them for no mistakes of theirs or for anything happens elsewhere? Or is it because they suffer any persecution silently and helplessly?????? can't the centre interfere when the state govt fail to protect the minority????
Fr. Raju Mathew Allumpuram MST
(frraju@msn.com)

Anonymous said...

Wow India Shining!
As you see all the atrocities committed on a minority community in Orissa, only silent obeying their master, Jesus Christ,who himself did not retaliate when persecuted, is n't it time you spoke? Spoke in favour of basic justice, which is violated by fundamentalists, whose main weapon is terrorism. We argue that terrorists from outside are claiming our lives, what about these like-minded fundamentalists who claimed the lives of Graham Steins and the two tender children? We all paid lip service and gave up a scapegoat named Dara Singh, while heart of hearts taking part in the carnage (in spirit). Can we withstand God, the Just judge, if he pays back in full, for our outright crimes, either individually or enmasse? Humanity in India, where are you? Wake up! Beware.. God is watching..

Varghese said...

"Shame"

I never thought that ppl from other religion would also protest.institutions are funded by the government.wht a bad way to find fault in something. :(

I pity the ppl who protested against the christian insititutions.

we can right now pray for the families who lost their loved ones, they really need our prayers and also support.rest all we dont have to worry, its just cheap politics.

Anonymous said...

Obviously the conversion of Hindus to Christianity over the years has brought forth this violence. The questions we need to ask here are :
Firstly, why are Hindus prepared to leave their faith and secondly, what have they seen / experienced in Christianity that they are ready to embrace the religion? All this violence is just attending to the periferals of the problem and not the root.

Anonymous said...

It is sad, indeed very sad that such incidents happens in a beautiful country like India. I love my country India, but I do not like the violence. Remember, every human person is a creation of God, learn to live as brother's and sister.

The message of Jesus Christ is to forgive and bless those who participated in committing the recent crime. God Bless you all.

A brother in Jesus Chris.

Canada

Latin Catholic Convention 2007 said...

It appears that the attackers of Christians and institutional structures find themselves in safe hands of local and central government. The vote thirsty politicians are not serious on taking actions to stop or curb the violence towards the innocents. Blogging alone is not going to be helping. If the local and central governments disregard, the interested must organize themselves and alert foreign governments including Australia, UK, Germany, USA, etc. about the human rights violations taking place in that region of the world.

Paul D. P.

Anonymous said...

I think these hindu fundamentalists are brainwashed by ill-minded leaders. Sad. I have great respect to them but now I begin to see them in a different way. They're evil!

Anonymous said...

Jesus predicted this would happen.
He said troubles will come, but be of good cheer, for I have overcome the World

Truly the end times are near. Importantly the Word of God which I believe is, fully inspired and without error in the original manuscripts, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and that it has supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct says that every knee in heaven, on earth and under the earth will bow down to the name of Jesus - every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

As Christians, we should pray without ceasing as the Word commands us to do so.

Our Father is on the throne - no one can ever be a God like our God.
To Jesus be all the glory!
To him be all the praise!

Even in this carnage - we choose to bless his name and exalt him as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Errol said...

How can we make sure that the international community is aware of this? This has been going on for far too long and needs to stop. Is there an international body who can step in because obviously the local authorities are puppets.

jenni said...

Well said Errol...some international body has to look into these things...I'm sure Govt of India is not doing anything about this.....Is there anything ,that as citizens of this nation ,we can do to stop this?

Anonymous said...

I am an Indian, I am a Hindu. But I am a human. No matter what ever is the religion or belief, Terrorism is terrorism, This is an act of shame, World should punish these terrorists no matter what ever is the religion/group/color or nationality..
BTW, I dint want them to get the death penalty and die suddenly, Their each of the limbs to be half cut and left alive for the rest of their life to experience the pain in the mind, not in the muscle.
I am very happy that many of the other friends are able to escape in those incidents and now getting better in the hospitals. Please remember that we are all here for you, our prayers(no matter what ever is my God) and love is with you. Please get the strengths back to move on your life
May God bless you

Anonymous said...

Honestly I thought only Muslims were like this!! Spreading terrorrism in the whole world!!!!!

I am shocked thsi was done by Hindus!!!!!

Very sad.......
But more pathetic is our government and the cops who stood there enjoying the show!!!!

They should be dragged and burnt for not doing their jobs!!!

jijoy said...

those who suffering in the name of jesus christ, are lucky people. because they will gain heven...i love jesus.....