Orissa priest injured in communal violence dies

October 29th, 2008 - 1:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Oct 29 (IANS) A Christian priest who was attacked by a mob during communal violence in Orissa’s Kandhamal district in August, has succumbed to his injuries at a hospital in Chennai, a Christian body said Wednesday.Fr. Bernard Digal, 48, a native of Tinagia village in Kandhamal, was attacked by a mob on the night of Aug 25. Digal, who also served as treasurer of the Archdiocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, was found unconscious the next morning in a forested area.

He was initially treated at Bhubaneswar and later shifted to Mumbai. He was subsequently taken to Chennai’s St. Thomas Hospital, where he died Tuesday night.

Doctors had operated on him to remove a blood clot from his brain. His lungs were badly affected and he slipped into a coma and died Tuesday night, Sajan George, president of the Bangalore-based Global Council of Indian Christians, told IANS over telephone.

Kandhamal district saw large-scale communal violence, mostly attacks on Christians and their places of worship, after the Aug 23 killing of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Laxmanananda and four of his aides.

Though Maoist rebels have claimed responsibility for the killings, radical Hindu groups hold Christians responsible.

At least 38 people have died in the violence that has left more than 20,000 people homeless. Around 11,000 people are still living in relief camps.

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