Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Questions raised over ‘appearance’ of missing priest


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From Our Correspondent

 TURA: The bizarre disappearance of a Salesian priest of Tura from the well secure Rajdhani express train in New Jalpaiguri station of North Bengal and his subsequent appearance in his nephew’s home town of Dehradun seven days later has raised many an eyebrow even as investigators raise question as to whether the priest did actually board the train in New Delhi.

The Salesian congregation of Don Bosco order in Guwahati received an information on Tuesday that their missing Rector of the Tura Don Bosco College had allegedly called up the Guwahati Provincial House to inform his safe “return” to his nephew’s place in Dehradun after a harrowing abduction experience and dramatic escape from the clutches of kidnappers.

His abduction, escape and subsequent arrival in Dehradun has raised many an eyebrow. Preliminary reports attributed to the missing priest Fr Francis Fernandez suggest he was drugged on the train and taken captive in New Jalpaiguri station.

Interestingly, another line of thought suggests that the priest actually never got onto the Rajdhani express train in New Delhi itself.

However, the Salesian congregation, based on feedback from Fr Fernandez, believe that he was drugged at New Delhi railway station itself and his identity papers taken away. They believe someone impersonating as the Don Bosco College Rector boarded the Rajdhani express before alighting from the train at New Jalpaiguri station only to destroy his identity papers to discard the investigation probe.

Railway authorities believe otherwise. They have apparently taken with a pinch of salt the entire claims of the missing priest story.

The missing priest who surfaced in Dehradun was later taken to New Delhi for medical examination. He also remains a suspect.

“If he was abducted from NJP how come he surfaced in Dehradun with his nephew. And moreover, why was his luggage not discarded at NJP station along with his identification papers,” questioned a senior police officer.


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