A day of mourning for Fr. James Mukalel's death is observed in India

Mangalore, August 01, 2009 The assassination of Fr. James Mukalel, a 39-year-old priest found dead near Mangalore (Karnataka, southern India), is still a mystery without any suspects in custody. His lifeless body was found by several parishoners in a rural district on July 30, after the young priest had not returned to the parish, in the Siro-Malabar Siorce of Belthangady.

Investigators say that the homicide seems to be the result of suffocation, however no clear facts are evident yet, in order to solve the case.

On July 29, in the hours shortly prior to his death, the priest had been visiting several families in the area, had eaten lunch in a convent, and later celebrated a funeral. According to the hypothesis of the Church in India, it could be a case of anti-Christian violence, as last year the area also experienced several attacks from extremists. However, nothing is certain yet and police work continues.

The young priest was well-loved by all, always smiling and zealous in his pastoral activity. The Church in India has declared a day of mourning and has asked authorities to continue their search for suspects, offering certainty and security to the Christian faithful of Karnataka.

The state has seen various episodes of anti-Christian violence, along with the attacks last year in Orissa. The Christians are being prudent and vigilant, however they continue to publicly profess their faith and bear witness, especially in the many social and charitable activities.

-Agenzia Fides

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