Indian-origin priest’s attacker arrested, charged for hate crime: MEA Sushma Swaraj

A Catholic priest of Indian-origin was stabbed in the neck while presiding over a church service in Melbourne by a 72-year-old Italian man. India’s Minister for External Affairs (MEA) Sushma Swaraj took to Twitter to express her concern and post developments in the case.

Sushma Swaraj
Indian Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj. Photo courtesy: Wikimedia

​Swaraj, in a series of tweets, described the victim’s condition, expressed the government’s concern and announced the arrest of the attacker. She also said the Indian consulate was in contact with the police and keeping abreast of developments in the case.

A man armed with a knife approached Tomy Kalathoor Mathew, 48, from Kerala, prior to the Sunday mass at St Matthew’s Parish in Fawkner and attacked the priest. The attacker reportedly told the priest he was unqualified to conduct the service in Italian because he was Indian, he must be Hindu or Muslim.

“At this stage, we believe the incident is isolated. There’s nothing to suggest he’s a danger to anyone else,” detective senior constable Rhiannon Norton told reporters.

Father Mathew suffered minor injuries and is admitted at The Northern Hospital.