Mumbai:Catholic Priest Fr. Peter J Bombacha Brutally murdered in Vasai.
Posted On: 01/05/2010 09:48 GMT
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Mumbai:In a very shocking news a retired priest of Roman Catholic Church of Vasai Diocese, Fr. Peter J Bombacha aged 74 years, was brutally murdered on 29th April in his 'Nirashritashramata' ashram at Babola Naka, Sandoor Road, Vasai. Interestingly the place is located at few furlongs from the Bishops house of Vasai.

A very simple priest who used to live a very poor and down to earth life style, with very simple food habits was a great attraction to the people of this locality and outside. People used to come to him with large numbers without any discrimination of cast, creed or religion. According to the locals he used to spend his whole day in penance, pasting and prayers.

As he was also holding prayers for the sick, lots of sick people used to come to him to get relieved from their sickness. He used to have a regular mass in the morning and prayers in the evening for which lots of people used to join him. He was also very good at Ayurvedic medicines. Hence he was giving medicines for minor ailments on Sundays from 10am to 5pm. The medicines were given to the sick of all cast and creed for free. He also had started an alcoholics anonymous clinic. According to the Archbishop Felix Anthony Machado he had helped more than 20,000 individuals to come out from alcoholic bonds.  Every last Saturday he used organise a special healing session inspired by the Holy Spirit for which people used to flock to him from all directions.

Fr. Peter J Bombacha was born on 29-May-1936 at St. Peters Church, Koliwada, Vasai Gaon, Vasai West. He has 3 brothers and 1 sister. He joined the Archdiocese of Bombay (Then it included the Diocese of Vasai too) and got ordained on 20-Dec-1970. His first appointment was Sandor Parish in Vasai West which is closer to his present Ashram. Later he served at Madh, Karodi, Thane, Naigaon and his home parish St. Peters Church, Koliwada. He got retired in the year 2000 and started a Ashram at Babola Naka (junction). This place is just few furlongs away from the Bishop's house. It is a junction place because the road over there diviates to Vasai Fort side and to Giriz side both are beautiful places in Vasai Village.

His Ashram was initially built with Bamboos. As a great devotee of mother mary he dedicated this ashram to Our Lady of Forsaken. He called this ashram as 'Nirashritashramata' which means 'Mother giving shelter to the forsaken'. He used to have daily mass in the morning and prayers in the evening. Every last he used to organise special healing sessions inspired by the Holy Spirit. Lots of people used to join him during his Morning Mass and eveing prayers. Lots of people of all cast and religion used to come to him on Sundays to take medicines from him. Lots of people of all faith used to come to him to benefit from his alcoholics anonymous clinic. More than that he used to encourage people to pray to 'Our Lady of Forsaken' to get healed from their sins and their sickness.

He was a kind of priest who was practicing what he was preaching. He used to give least importance to his basic needs like food, shelter and cloth. His food habits were very simple. Some people who knew him say that he used to live with just a piece of bread and water. His room was also very simple. His shelter was built with bamboo structure. As hundreds of people used to flock to him they found a need of a chapel there. Just recently the construction work with two story building was started. The ground floor containing chapel of 'Our Lady of Forsaken' and the first floor being the residence for the priest. This building is not yet completed.

Fr. Bombacha had a cook. But he had sent him to native place for holidays. Thus the priest was alone on Thurday, 29th April 2010 early morning when he was killed. As usual on 29th early morning too the locals went to the chapel for the mass. Fr. Bombacha used to toss the key to the people who come early for the mass and people used to make preperations for the mass. But that day the people made lots of noise but they did not recieve any response from the priest. The people thought that the preist must be out for some important work. So they they prayed in the chapel and went. But when the sun started rising a lady doctor went to meet the preist. She went up and found that his grilled door of the flat was still closed. But for a shock she could see the body lying on the floor. Then she alerted the locals and the police were informed.

When the police came they saw the naked body lying on the floor with pair of scissors still striking out of his mouth. A rope was found tightened around his neck and there were four-stab injuries on his body. The pastor was dressed in pyjamas which were drawn till his knees while his undergarment was found in another room, said police. A total of 13 wounds were found on his body during post mortem/autopsy. The body was found in the lobby leading to the bedroom.

The body was sent for post mortem in Navghar Primary Health Centre (PHC). Finger print experts are taken. The police have registered a case of murder and are conducting inquiries in the matter. The investigations are already started under the leadership of a senior police inspector Rajendra Naik of the Vasai police station and the deputy superintendent of police Deepak Deoraj of Thane rural who hope to nab the culprit in next 48 hours. According to the police there is no sign of robbery in this case. They found the drawer forced open but nothing suspected to be missing.

As Fr. Bombacha was living a poor life, the locals say he had hardly any money even for his basic needs. As per the police sources he had not paid electricity bills of the past two months. This may be one indication that he did not have enough cash to pay even electricity bills.

This is the reason people are not prepared to buy the story that the murder was committed for gain by the robbers. Different stories are in circulation about the motive of murder, including the one about the priest’s ongoing tussle with a builder, who wanted to acquire open land in front of his ashram, which the priest resisted. Some suspect that religious fanaticism would have been behind the murder, but people do not want to believe this because VASAI is such a place where lots of people are Christians and the people of other faith live with them in religious harmony. Hence, the actual motive behind this murder will come out only through proper investigation.

After post-mortem the body was brought to his ashram in the evening. Then the body was taken in procession to his house in Koliwada which comes under the jurisdiction of St. Peters Church. Within the short span of time the news spread to entire Vasai region like a wild fire and the people flocked to the place in thousands. It was very difficult to control the emotions of the people. Funeral mass was concelebrated by Archbishop Felix Anthony Machado - Bishop of Vasai, Most Rev Bishop Percival Ferandes - Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Mumbai and Msgr Francis Correa, chancellor of Vasai Diocese at 7 pm at St. Peters Church, Koliwada. Parish priest Fr. Solomon Rodrigues, Fr. Valentine Pawkar, parish priest of Gonsalo Garcia church under whose jurisdiction the ashram is located and several other dignitaries were present. Even during the mass people were rushing to have a last look at the murdered priest.

According to sources murder of priest is a third incidence in the last 50 years. The first was Father Dourado who was attacked by a gang in Uttan in the sixties, the second was Fr Austin Cerejo, who was allegedly killed by his cook in Parel in 1991. This reporter met several people in Vasai (many of whom were non-catholics) who had very great regards to this priest and said they always benefited from his counseling and his medicines.

Edited and Publsihed By Konkanifriends Team
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