By Ononye VC
A Catholic priest, 3 nuns and two other passengers died in a fatal road accident in India on Feb 27, around 3 p.m. The gruesome incident took place at Sumer in the Ri Bhoi district of Meghalaya State in the northeastern part of the country.
The deceased have been identified as Fr Mathew Das, parish priest and principal of St John’s H S School, and Sisters Melagrine Dantes, Promila Tirkey, and Rossie Nongrum belonging to the northeastern region of the Sisters of Our Lady of Fatima. Mairan, a teacher, and the driver, whose identity has not been revealed, also perished in the accident.
The four-wheel drive that was carrying the six passengers to Shillong, the state capital, was hit by a truck carrying cement. All the passengers died on the spot.
In a letter addressed to the clergy of the Diocese of Bongaigaon, Bishop Thomas Pulloppillil expressed his deep sorrow over the “shocking” incident. Along with his condolences, he mentioned that the news was received at about 5 p.m. In a press release, the spokesperson of the Assam Christian Forum, Allen Brooks, expressed the forum’s “deep pain at this tragic loss of innocent lives due to reckless driving.” He continued: “The forum has also asked the Meghalaya Government for a thorough investigation into the cause of the accident and compensation to be paid to the victims.”
Das was ordained a priest on November 20, 2005. The nuns were in charge of a vocational training centre and a dispensary in the parish church in Barama, Meghalaya.