National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Orissa priest, survived Hindu attack, dies of dengue


Father Bernard Digal, the Bhubaneswar archdiocesan procurator who survived an attack by Hindu extremists and had been hospitalized for a month, died of dengue fever Oct. 28.

"We are saddened by Father Bernard's untimely demise," Archbishop Raphael Cheenath of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar told Catholic News Service.

"He was a dedicated priest at the service of the people," Archbishop Cheenath said of the 46-year-old priest from the Kandhamal district in Orissa state.

Father Digal was beaten by Hindu extremists and left to die in the jungle Aug. 26 before he was moved to a local government hospital. On Aug. 28 he was airlifted to Holy Spirit Hospital in Mumbai.

Father Digal fell into the hands of the extremists when he walked more than 10 miles into the jungle to fetch a motorbike to rescue an elderly priest. The elderly priest had been stranded in the violence after his own van was set on fire by the Hindu fundamentalists.

rectangular-logo.jpgVisit our sister website, Global Sisters Report, for unique content you won't find anywhere else!

Archbishop Cheenath said the funeral arrangements for the priest had to be finalized, but he confirmed the funeral would be held in Kandhamal.

The violence in Orissa began Aug. 24, the day after a Hindu leader and four associates were killed in the Kandhamal district. The leader, Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati, had for decades opposed Christian missionary activities and Hindus converting to Christianity. A Maoist group claimed responsibility for the murders, but the Hindu extremists blamed Christians for the murders and began attacking them.


Enjoy this article?
Help support more like it by donating today!

NCR Comment code: (Comments can be found below)

Before you can post a comment, you must verify your email address at
Comments from unverified email addresses will be deleted.

  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the original idea will be deleted. NCR reserves the right to close comment threads when discussions are no longer productive.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report abuse" button. Once a comment has been flagged, an NCR staff member will investigate.

For more detailed guidelines, visit our User Guidelines page.

For help on how to post a comment, visit our reference page.


Friends of NCR 300x80 web ad.jpg

NCR Email Alerts


In This Issue

October 9-22, 2015


Some articles are only available in the print newspaper and Kindle edition.