Vicar General of Patna Dies of Stab Wounds

PATNA, India, MAY 2, 2005 ( Father Matthew Uzhuthal, the vicar general of the Archdiocese of Patna, died Friday as the result of stab wounds suffered April 11. He was 72.

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The priest was stabbed in his office in Mokama. He was taken to Nazareth Hospital, where he remained until April 15.

He was then moved to Kurji Holy Family Hospital in Patna, capital of Bihar state, where he underwent a spinal cord operation April 23. Following the operation, his condition began to deteriorate.

His body was to be taken to Mokama today for burial in the Marian shrine where he had been parish priest for the past several years.

«It is a great loss for the Church in Bihar,» said Sister Teresa Kottooran, provincial superior of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, of the priest’s death.

The Indian episcopate’s news service said the priest was stabbed in the neck and chest when he refused to pay extortion money to a man identified as Gyan Das, of the Munger district.

In a statement to the police, Father Uzhuthal named Das as his assailant. However, the police did not arrest Das until the priest’s death.

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