Priest arrested for raping indigenous girl in church

The Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) has arrested the father of a church for allegedly raping an indigenous Christian girl for three days at the church of Saint Mary Vianni in Tanore upazila of Rajshahi.

Accused Father Pradip Gregory was arrested from Bishop House near Amchattar in Rajshahi city around 12:30 pm on Tuesday (September 29) after a rape case was filed against him at Tanore police station around 8:30 pm.

ATM Mainul Islam, Rajshahi Company Commander of RAB-5, said that the attempt to arrest the fugitive Pradip Gregory started after he came to know about the rape. Later that night, he was arrested from Bishop's House and handed over to Tanore Police Station.

Meanwhile, according to the victim's family and local sources, on the morning of September 26, the young woman went missing while cutting grass near the church of Saint Mary Vianni of Mundumala Mahalipara. After much searching, her brother lodged a GD with the police on September 27 in connection with the disappearance of the girl.

Later on Monday (September 28) at noon, the family members and locals searched for the girl and rescued her on the basis of information that she was a prisoner in the church's Father Pradip's house.

Then in the evening an arbitration meeting was held inside the church. As the guilt was proved there, Father Pradip was removed and brought to Rajshahi. The victim was kept with the sisters inside the church. She was detained by Father Patrick Gomez, head of the church, and Kamel Mardi, head of the arbitration meeting. Church authorities said she would be released if family members of the victim withdrew the GD from the police station.

Tanore Police Station Officer-in-Charge (OC) Rakibul Hasan and Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Sushant Kumar Mahato rescued the girl from the church in the evening after the girl's family lodged a complaint with the police station on Tuesday.

OC Rakibul Hasan said the girl was sent to the One Stop Crisis Center (OCC) of Rajshahi Medical College (RAMEC) Hospital on Wednesday (September 30) morning for a physical examination. The arrested father Pradip will also be sent to jail through the court.