Kochi: Kerala on March 4 witnessed a rare gesture of forgiveness when the mother of a slain Catholic priest visited the killer’s family to pardon him.
“I forgive him,” Thressia Thelakat told media persons after comforting the wife and family members of Johny Vattaparampil, a former church sexton. Pictures of the elderly woman comforting Annie, Vattaparampil’s wife, have gone viral on social media.
“Vattaparampil’s family was isolated and lived in misery and dejection. The visit has brought great relief to them,” reported News Vision, a local TV channel.
The visit came a day after Cardinal George Alencherry, head of the Syro-Malabar Church, pardoned Vattaparampil. The cardinal led the priest’s funeral in Cheranalloor East parish of Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese.
Father Thelakkat was the rector of famous of St Thomas pilgrimage center in Malayattoor where Vattaparampil worked as sexton for the past 37 years. The priest sacked him three months ago allegedly for coming drunk to duty.
Vattaparampil attacked Father Thelakat on March 1 as was coming down from the hilltop shrine.
The 51-year-old priest received deep cuts on his left thigh and bled to death before reaching a nearby hospital.
Malayattoor parish priest Father John Theckanath organized the vist.
Thressia came accompanied by her daughter, also named Thressia, and Sebastian, the priest’s younger brother, and Pappachan, a cousin.
Vattaparampil is in police custody since his arrest on March 2 from a forest where he had escaped after the incident.
“He admitted that he did the act in revenge after the priest had suspended him citing his excessive drinking habit. He had requested the priest to take him back with the pilgrim season set to start but the latter refused. The priest finally called him for talks on Thursday but it ended in an argument and the subsequent murder,” said Saji Markose, station head officer, Kalady, who led the police team.
When caught, Vattaparampil was in a weak condition and pleaded for drinking water and food, police said. The man told the police that he had tried to commit suicide, but failed.
(Source: Matters India)