A Christian woman was brutally attacked and murdered at the St. Mary's Cathedral Church compound situated in the Cantonment area in Varanasi on January 1. This, according to local media, marks the second murder of the year already, causing heightened concerns within the locals.
The victim is identified as Victoria, around 50 plus years of age and belonging to Gumla from Jharkhand state. The victim used to reside with her sister Retina in the staff quarters of the Church and used to help with the Church work.
According to the narrative offered by Mr. Ronald Benjamin Nadar, a senior Church member and President of the Uttar Pradesh Catholic Union, to the media, the assailant, identified in the media report as Jitendra alias Chetu, reportedly entered the Church through the back gate while the security guard was briefly away. Seizing the opportunity, he broke into Victoria's room, which was left unattended as Retina had already gone to work around 7:30 am.
When the guard came back to his post, some women informed him about the unidentified man who they had seen come in. The women also informed the guard that they had seen the man go near the staff quarters of the Church.
By the time the guard and the women reached the staff quarters to investigate the appearance of this stranger, they heard Victoria’s cries for help. They tried to open the door which was now locked from inside. When they could not, they called more people including the Church authorities and more guards and finally were able to force the door open.
They found Victoria on the ground covered in blood, and the attacker standing over her holding an iron rod and a grinding stone. They caught the attacker and called the police and rushed Victoria to Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay Government Hospital, but as her condition was severe, she was immediately referred to the Banaras Hindu University Trauma Centre. By the time she could be admitted, she passed away and was pronounced dead on arrival by the doctors at the Trauma Centre.
This disturbing incident follows closely on the heels of the New Year's Day murder of a lawyer in Varanasi.
The Varanasi police reached the spot immediately as per media reports with a forensic team and a dog squad. As per media reports it is believed that the attacker had attempted to force himself upon the victim and not having been successful in his intentions, had resorted to murder. Additional Police Commissioner S. Chinnappa later confirmed the arrest of Jitendra to the media.
Meanwhile Victoria’s body was sent for post-mortem, with further actions contingent on the findings of the autopsy report.