Catholic priest and educator Father Michael Raj (44) was found hanging on Monday morning inside his room on St Joseph’s Hospital premises at Bhilaipahari along NH-33 near Mango.
Vicar-general of Catholic Diocese of Jamshedpur, Father Prabhu from Golmuri’s St Joseph Church issued a statement before MGM police that Father Raj had committed suicide.
Elaborating on the sequence of events, he said Father Raj was found hanging from his ceiling fan around 8am on Monday by a hospital staffer who had gone looking for him as it was way past his breakfast time.
The shocked staffer had immediately informed St Joseph’s Hospital director Father George Mannarakam.
Father Prabhu, Father David Vincent as well other priests and nuns from St Joseph’s Church, Golmuri, and St Mary’s Church, Bistupur, assembled at the site of the tragedy on Jamshedpur’s outskirts on getting the news.
Everyone agreed that the extreme step taken by Father Raj had left them completely shocked and surprised.
“He was hypertensive, though there was no apparent symptom of depression. Father Raj may have taken the extreme step on a sudden impulse. We are very shocked,” Father Prabhu, acting as the spokesperson, told The Telegraph.
Sub-inspector Ratibhan Singh of MGM police station said that though the priest did not leave any suicide note, it appeared that the priest took his own life.
Many remembered Father Raj for his dynamism as an educator and a social worker. Originally from Kanya Kumari in Tamil Nadu, he had settled in Jamshedpur for the past 25 years and was the founder-director of St Joseph’s Community College in Mango.
The Mango community college that he founded in 2011 was part of his crusade to empower needy dropouts with vocational training.
“On Sunday evening, Father Raj went to a church at Kukrudungri in Mango where he celebrated Naya Khana, a tribal festival. Father Raj dined with the revellers and took a stroll on the sprawling St Joseph’s Hospital premises, something that he did every night before going to bed. Nothing appeared amiss,” said Father Prabhu.
A case of unnatural death has been registered with MGM police station. The police later shifted the body to MGM Medical College mortuary for post-mortem, which was performed late on Monday afternoon. The body was then brought to Tata Main Hospital’s mortuary.
The funeral will take place at 3pm on Wednesday at Beldih Church, Northern Town.