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Scotland agrees to release Indian priest’s body

Investigators have been investigating the case, but are yet to release the report or announce the cause of his death.

world Updated: Jul 28, 2017 22:28 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
Indian priest Martin Xavier Vazhachira,Scotland,Kerala
Martin Xavier Vazhachira arrived in Scotland in July 2016 for postgraduate studies in the University of Edinburgh (in picture).(Image courtesy: Wikimedia Commons)

Over a month after Indian priest Martin Xavier Vazhachira was found dead on a Scotland beach, authorities have agreed to release the body for repatriation to his home state of Kerala, official sources said on Friday.

Scottish investigators have been investigating the case, but are yet to release the report or announce the cause of his death. Relatives have been keen that his body is sent to India, but it was not released so far due to ongoing investigations.

Anju Ranjan, India’s consul-general in Edinburgh, told Hindustan Times that necessary documents were being processed after the authorities agreed to release the body. Its repatriation should happen “in few days”, she added.

Vazhachira, 33, was found dead on June 23 in West Barns, near Dunbar. He was ordained as a priest of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate in Kerala in 2013, and arrived in Scotland in July 2016 for post-graduate studies in the University of Edinburgh. He served in Catholic parishes in Falkirk and others places in Scotland.

The Syro-Malabar community here and in India has been keenly following the case. Several priests from Kerala, Nagaland, Mizoram and other states have moved to Britain in recent years to serve in parishes.

Local reports said an alarm was raised after Vazhachira failed to show up to celebrate Mass with the parish community of St John the Baptist, Corstorphine, where he was the administrator.

“The news of Fr Martin Xavier’s death comes as a great shock and a great sadness to all those who knew him and loved him,” Archbishop Leo Cushley of St Andrews & Edinburgh told the Scottish Catholic Observer SCO.

“Our thoughts and, more importantly, our prayers are with him and with all his loved ones in both Scotland and India. May he rest in peace.”

First Published: Jul 28, 2017 22:24 IST