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Tura | March 20, 2019

Following the charges of molestation on a priest from Kerala a few days ago in Garo Hills, Meghalaya, the Church has taken cognizance of reports in the media of the priest’s wrong doing and has suspended the accused priest from all priestly ministries.

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The letter of suspension was signed by the Bishop of Tura, Rt Rev Andrew R Marak who added that the Church did not know about such acts committed by her priests and would never support it. The Bishop also sought wide circulation of the order in an effort to ensure that there were no flare ups within sections of the same community.

The letter stated that the priest, who is now in judicial custody, was suspended pending investigation into the molestation case by the Provincial Superior of MSFS Congregation.

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Interestingly, more skeletons seemed to have tumbled out of the cupboard of the accused priest after it was found that the name he submitted to the police was one of many such IDs he carried. The matter came forth through the suspension letter of the Bishop which put his name as Abraham Ponvilel (MSFS) and not Biju Joseph as given to the police and media.

The accused was a priest of the Somonpara Parish in South Garo Hills and is originally from the state of Kerala.

On the morning of March 16, the accused priest got on the bus from near Guwahati on the Millennium Wave night bus when he allegedly tried to hold the hand of a female fellow passenger seated next to him. The incident allegedly took place after the bus left Paikan in Goalpara district of Assam, a little after midnight, where a dinner stop is made.

The case led to the priest being man handled by passengers who later handed him over to the police at Bajengdoba PS in North Garo Hills.

Following the incident, the 27 year old victim was subjected to mental torture after some miscreants on social media began to call her names and tried to shame her, allegedly for naming the priest. An FIR was filed at the Tura PS in WGH, on the harassment she was meted out with police now on the lookout for those involved in naming and shaming her.

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