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An Indian Catholic priest committed suicide for unknown reasons

Father Anil Francis

An Indian Catholic priest committed suicide in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh on September 14, 2023.

Father Sabu Puthenparaambil, public relations officer of the Sagar Syro-Malabar diocese, said, "It is with a heavy heart that we announce the death of Father Anil Francis of our diocese, who ended his life by suicide."

In a statement issued on September 15, the priest said he was the manager of St. Alphonsa Academy in Garhakota, some 50 kilometers east of Sagar.

Father Francis' body had been found hanging from a tree earlier in the day at C H I Village on Thopkhana Garaj Road in the Sagar Cantonment area, according to Sagar Vani (Voice of Sagar).

Police have sent the body for autopsy to the Government Hospital in Sagar, some 170 kilometers northeast of Bhopal.

The 40-year-old priest was ordained a priest on April 17, 2013.

On September 13, the priest attended a monthly prayer meeting at the Bishop's House in Sagar, according to a diocesan statement.

The statement said, "However, he was found missing on Thursday morning, and the sad news about his tragic end came to us at about 3:30 pm."

The police, it adds, have started a probe into the case, and "the diocese is fully cooperating with them in the matter."

The priest was apparently under tension and pressure as a result of the First Information Report lodged against him for posting on social media about Manipur.

The Sagar Vani stated, "The priest became a Catholic as a teenager, and his father Ramesh Ahir and others in the family remain Hindu and live in a village near Ratona in the Sagar district."

The priest's parents would conduct his funeral in accordance with Hindu customs, according to the suicide note they discovered on his body.

"The diocese also found he had written in a suicide note that he desired to cremate his body," the statement said.

There has been a report that the priest has been transferred for the last 18 months to St. Thomas School in Udaipur, 110 kilometers south of Sagar.

The diocese said, "We were extremely pained and sad over the death of Father Anil Francis, who was known for his commitment to the works given to him and dedication to the values preached by him."

This diocese expressed its sorrow and condolences to the priest's family, as well as praying to God for strength for the family to "overcome this agonizing moment they are going through."


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