Hill Voice, 29 September 2020, Rajshahi: Church chief (Father) Pradeep Gregory has been charged with raping a 15-year-old indigenous Santal girl after being detained for three days at the “Sadhujan Mary Vianni Church” in the Mundumala Mahalipara area of Tanore upazila of Rajshahi district.
According to local sources, the victim went missing while cutting grass next to the church on 26 September 2020 Saturday at 10 am. After searching, her brother Swapan Hansda lodged a GD with the police station on 27 September about the disappearance of the girl.
It is learnt on Monday afternoon that the missing teenager was being held captive in Father Pradip’s room at the church. An arbitration was held inside the church in the evening under the leadership of Karmel Mardi, the headmaster of Moral and Mundumala Government High Schools. As there was proof of guilt, Father Pradip was removed and brought to Rajshahi. The victim was kept with the sisters inside the church.
The church authorities then asked the teenager’s family to withdraw the GD and take her back and promised to bear all the costs of the teenager until she reaches puberty. Although the girl’s brother later picked up the GD, the girl was not handed over from the church to her family. Father Patrick Gomez, head of the church and Kamel Mardi, head of the arbitration meeting kept the girl in the church until 28 September Monday evening threatening to expel her. Later the police rescued the girl and brought her to the police station.
Officer-in-Charge (OC) of Tanore Police Station Rakibul Hasan said police rescued the girl. The girl’s brother has filed a case with the police station. Accused Pradip is a fugitive. Attempts are being made to arrest him.