Father Tomy Kalathoor Mathew, who hails from Kerala, was stabbed on Sunday in Melbourne.
A Catholic priest from Kerala was stabbed at a church in Australia's Melbourne city while he was preparing to lead a Sunday Mass around 11 am on March 19. Taking stock of the situation, Union Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj said on Monday that the attacker has been arrested by the Australian police and charged with attempt to murder.
"Our Consulate officials met Father Mathew in the hospital. The police have arrested the attacker and charged him with attempt to murder," said Ms Swaraj said on social media platform Twitter.
"Our Consulate is in touch with the police authorities and will keep us informed of the progress of the case," she added.
Father Tomy Kalathoor Mathew, who hails from Kerala, was stabbed in the left side of his neck by a 72-year-old Italian man at St Matthew's Church in Melbourne's Fawkner area. He was immediately rushed to the hospital and subsequently discharged after undergoing treatment.
The Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne also released a statement
condemning the attack on Father Mathew. The statement said that the attacker "accused him (Father Mathew) of being Hindu or Muslim, and therefore unqualified to say Mass". The motive was also confirmed by Ms Swaraj on Twitter.
"The attacker had a problem with Father Mathew presiding over the church," Union Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted.
The Archdiocese further said that it stood in solidarity with Father Mathew and lauded him for the wonderful work he does for his parishioners.
"This is appalling behavior and people should never be treated like this," said Archiocese's spokesperson Shane Healy.
"This is really a blight on the great work that many Catholic priests are doing," he added, in the statement.(with inputs from IANS)