Bishop's own priests among men arrested for his assault and kidnapping

Bishop Gallela PrasadVatican Radio

Three priests who were in the service of a bishop who was kidnapped and beaten are among 14 people arrested in connection with the case.

Father Raja Reddy from Jammalamadugu, of the Cuddapah diocese in southern India, is among those arrested after the kidnapping and assault of Bishop Gallela Prasad, Crux reported.

Prasad and his driver Vijay Kumar were kidnapped last month, blindfolded and beaten and taken to an undisclosed place where £50,000 was demanded in ransom.

The attackers took three ATM cards, a silver chain with the bishop's holy cross and his iPhone, according to the police.

From 2000 to 2004, Prasad served as a priest in the diocese of San Angelo, Texas, before returning to India to teach in a local seminary.

Prasad, aged 54, whose motto is "The Lord is my strength and I trust in him", said: "They hit me and punched me resulting in injuries all over my body. I did not resist."

He said he was quizzed repeatedly about diocesan finances.

The kidnappers told him that since he helped so many other people, he should help them too. They also claimed to be from the police before releasing him the following day. "They appeared to be paid goons and non-Christians from the way they talked and behaved," he said.

Both men were left on a roadside at around 2am after the bishop agreed to pay about £20,000. After his release, Prasad called the police.