Angamaly (Kerala), March 1 (IANS) A 52-year-old Catholic priest was stabbed to death by his former Church sexton while taking part in a pilgrimage here on Thursday.
Priest Xavier Thelekat, who was attached to the Angamaly diocese of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church and was the rector of the Kuruishmala Church near here, was attacked and killed by his former sexton, Jomy, an officer of the church charged with maintenance of its buildings and the graveyard.
According to the Church spokesperson Jimmy, the priest was coming down the hill as part of the Kuruishmala pilgrimage when the incident occurred.
“It took place at the sixth sector of the pilgrimage around 10.45 a.m., when the sexton suddenly came in front of the priest and following an argument, stabbed Thelekat,” Jimmy said.
The spot, on the hill amidst a forest, is three km from any form of transport.
Thelekat was stabbed in the leg. He was bleeding profusely and although he was rushed to a hospital, he passed away, said Jimmy.
After the stabbing, Jomy ran into the forest and escaped.
According to informed sources, Thelekat had fired Jomy three months back.
Thereafter, Jomy had approached Thelekat a few times and requested he be reinstated, but the priest was not keen to take him back.
Former CPI-M legislator Saju Paul, who hails from the area, told IANS that he was shocked to hear about the sad incident.
“The priest was a very active person. He practised and advocated good deeds and took a lot of interest in social activities.
“He was always looking to see that the Kuruishmala pilgrimage gets more visibility and was keen to turn the place into a spiritual holiday destination,” said Paul.