Sunday, May 15, 2016


Remembering what happened this day 15 years ago:
(From the Provincial Circular regarding the killing of Frs. Fr. Raphael Paliakara and two others Fr. Andreas Kindo and a young cleric, Bro. Shinu Varghese which took place on 15 May 2001 at Ngarian, Manipur.)
“Two armed men in combat fatigues appeared at the gate of the Salesian Novitiate house at Ngarian at about 6.45 pm on 15 Tuesday, May 2001. The two armed men went near the kitchen by the side gate through the volleyball court. At gunpoint a domestic worker was told to call out the Fathers. The worker went in and informed Fr. Andreas Kindo. He went and informed Fr. Raphael who was giving a conference to the second year novices at that time. Fr. Raphael stopped the conference saying that he would return in tow minutes. He went out to meet the gunmen, together with Fr. Andreas.”
“Fr. Raphael came back shortly to tell the novices that the day’s conference was closed and asked them to go to the study hall, and to remain there without leaving the place. The novices saw him going to the chapel, where he remained a minute or two, and then came out into the volleyball court to talk to them again. After a lengthy discussion Fr. Raphael went into his office, apparently to collect money from there. As reported by the worker when he returned, the gunmen said that the sum was not sufficient. Fr. Andreas went into the house again. The novices saw him counting money as he rejoined the group in the volleyball court.”
“For the next 45 minutes, the four of them were engaged in a discussion. In the mean time the worker went to the front side of the building and saw white Maruti van parked at the road a with a man inside and another gunman dressed in casuals on guard at the gate.”
Fr. Andreas Kindo

“When the worker returned to the scene, he overheard one of the gunmen asking Fr. Raphael to bring out all the novices and separate them into locals and non-locals. The Master told them: ‘They are young boys. Why call them out. What you want from them, you tell me, and I will inform them.’ As all this going on, Bro. Shinu was watching the whole incident through the window of the dining hall, adjacent to the volleyball court. He also went to the study hall several times asking the novices to remain inside the study hall.”
“After a while, the gunman asked the worker to call the brother. The brother came out and followed the conversation for about ten minutes. It was now 7.50 pm. The novices were in the chapel for their personal prayer. They heard a shot from the road. Immediately after that, the gunmen at point blank range opened fire with their AK-47 at Fr. Raphael. As he fell to the ground, Fr. Andreas who bent forward to help Fr. Raphael was also sprayed with bullets. At this Bro. Shinu moved forward crying. The gunmen shot him, too, several times. Three martyrs in one pool of blood. ‘If two or three are gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst.’ The young men waited till their mission was accomplished, to their full satisfaction. Then they took the money that was given them and walked away. And it was night!”
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“The twelve second year Novices and the fifteen new ones who had just arrived at Ngarian on 8 May 2001, were left totally alone in a state of paralyzing fear. ‘They will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ No, not they. They stood by their master, Socius and their Assistant. Now it was quick action – two novices, one old and one new, together with two workers, ran across the paddy field to the nearby Yairipok Parish, and informed Fr. George Malayil, the Parish Priest what had happened in their hearing, and what they had seen. The rest carried their Master, Socius and Assistant into the house…bullet wounds all over the body, blood oozing out, drenching their minds more than the campus… and they waited – frightened, crying, praying. For them, all doors seemed shut. ‘If they have done it to a green tree, what about the dry wood?’ The young novices who were eight days away from their first commitment to daily martyrdom, and those who just walked in looking forward to a year of prayer, seemed to hear those words of Jesus. If only what they witnessed was not true. If only what they saw could be changed.”
“The confreres from Chingmeirong came in, to take the place of the three Martyrs, to shepherd the fledglings. The bodies were shifted to the nearby Yairipok Police station for the formalities, and then to the RIMS for the post mortem. No bullet was found. Shots fired at point blank range had pierced through their meek bodies."
“Why did the assailants do such an irrevocable act? Was it for money? Or was it, that they thought it is better that these men die for the nation – that the system may fail, the Church and the Province will be shaken to their roots?”

The blood of the martyrs, we believe and hope, is the seeds of the Church and the Kingdom of God...Thank you for your witness - Pray that we are able to stand up for Christ and the Kingdom...