News and pics by Ancy DSouza Paladka
Mumbai, April 30: 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 yesterday (Apr 29) 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 attend. He also used to give medicines for minor ailments on Sundays from 10am to 5pm. 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.
According to Archbishop Felix Anthony Machado, the Bishop of Vasai, Fr. Peter who was born in 1936 was a very faithful priest and serving the people with full capacity. He used to forget his basic needs while serving the poor. He had served in various parishes of undivided Bombay Diocese. Some of them are Sandor, Mudh, Karodi, Dahisar. He was well accepted priest and had a great love for poor, sick and downtrodden.
After retirement in the year 2000 Fr. Bombacha had built an ashram, a small structure with bamboos in Babola Naka, Vasai (a place close to the Bishops House) and he used to serve people from there. He had named the ashram as ’Nirashritashramata’ (Mother of Forsaken who gives shelter) and used to conduct regular prayers. He also had started an alcoholics anonymous clinic. He used to give medicines for all types of minor ailments. More than that he used to encourage people to pray to ’Our Lady of Forsaken’ to get healed from their sins and their sickness.
Some people doubt about the murder for the motive of robber. But others rubbish it as he was living a very poor life and the robbers may not find any valuable with him. They have different stories for this as there was a tug of war going on with a builder who wanted a land near his ashram for which the priest had very strong opposition. Some doubt about the religious fanaticism for the murder. But the actual motive of the murder will come to light only after investigation.
Fr. Peter J Bombacha used to live in a structure built with bamboos with his cooks. Just recently a new structure was built in the same place with a building of two stories. The work is still under construction. Fr. Peter used to stay in the first floor and the chapel is located in the ground floor. Few days back he had sent his cooks to native place for holidays. The incidence came to light only in the morning on April 29. People as usual went for the morning mass. When people come to his place he used to toss the keys from his first floor residence, and the people used to open the chapel to prepare for the mass at 5.30am. However as Fr. Bambacha did not respond on the thursday morning (Apr 29) the the members went away. But around 6am a lady doctor residing in the area decided to check on him. 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 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 and a pair of scissors stuck in the throat. 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.
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 - Bishop of the Archdiocese of Mumbai and Monsgr 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.