On the night of August 16th his body was found on the roadside by a group of people, not far from the village of Balampilly; the body of the Carmelite of Mary Immaculate carried wounds to the face while the hands and legs had been crushed and the eyes gouged out. His motorbike was found one kilometre on from the body. According to witnesses, Saturday afternoon Fr. Thomas celebrated mass in Burgida, before setting out for another village in the district where he was to have celebrated Sunday mass. The last people to have seen him alive were religious sisters from Lingapetta convent, where the priest had stopped for supper before continuing his journey.
Msgr. Marampudi Joji maintains the crime is the result of a climate of "jealousy of the Catholic Church", whose only fault is that of trying to help develop the abandoned rural areas of the country and support and aid those who are "victims of violence and oppression". "Priests and nuns – continues the archbishop of Hyderabad – have for decades been at the service of the least fortunate in India, and this makes them targets of forces of evil who do not want the marginalized and impoverished to become empowered".
Eternal Rest grant unto Fr. Thomas Pandippallyil dear Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul and all the souls of the faithful departed through the Mercy of God rest in peace. Amen And may those responsible for his brutal death repent of their sin and be converted in Jesus Name. Amen
It all began around 13.00 hrs" he recalled. "I was having lunch at my single room presbytery that doubles as office, bedroom and store room. The doors were closed. I heard some one calling out, 'Father, Father.' Thinking that some one was there with some patients needing to be taken to hospital I opened the door and came out.
There was a crowd of about 20 people crowding before my room. They suddenly pulled out from behind their backs, iron rods, lathies, and wooden pieces. They started thrashing me. They wanted to me to shout 'Yesu Christu Murdabad' (Death to Jesus Christ) 'Bajrang Bali Ki Jai' (Long Live Bajrang Bali).
They continued thrashing me and then pushed me back into the room, poured diesel on the floor, some fell on by clothes and set the place on fire and bolted the room from outside. I slipped on the diesel soaked floor, some how managed to reach the bath room where providentially there were two buckets of water - we do not have running water - and poured it all across the room. Without making much noise I bolted from inside all the doors and windows under cover of billowing smoke."
The Vatican issued this statement regarding the violence:
Please keep the Catholics of India in your prayers. You can check this blog, Orissa Burning, which has a thorough list of the atrocities being committed.