A member of the student wing of Bangladesh’s ruling Awami League has been arrested over the kidnapping and detention of a Catholic priest in Dhaka.
Firoz Talukdar, officer-in-charge of the Tongi police station where the victim Father Shishir Gregory lodged the complaint, said the arrested man was a member of Chhatra League, the student arm of the governing party.
He said further police raids would be conducted in the hunt for four other men allegedly involved in the attack.
The gang allegedly phoned Father Gregory, 40, the vice-rector of St. Joseph’s seminary in Dhaka, on Oct. 2 and told him to come to Tongi, an industrial suburb near the capital, to see his “seriously ailing” sister.
Upon arrival, the priest was detained in a room with the gang grabbing his money, mobile phone and motorbike.
The abductors allegedly also demanded a huge ransom before the priest managed to escape and ran screaming for help. A group of locals rescued Father Gregory, captured one of the abductors and handed him over to police.
The priest later filed a case against five unnamed persons at Tongi police station, accusing them of abduction and extortion.
“As far as we know there was no sectarian motive behind the crime but extortion. There might be other motives that we don’t know yet and we can determine once the probe is completed,” police chief Firoz told ucanews.com.
Father Gregory declined to comment on what happened other than to say he was “psychologically distressed.”