Dalit priest dies of COVID-19 in northeast India

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By DCD Reporter

Shillong, May 2: A Dalit priest who was a missionary in northeast India May 2 died of COVID-19. He was 47.

Fr Surendra Kumar Kanher, a Divine Word missionary, passed away at 12.30 am while he was being taken to civil hospital Shillong from civil hospital Khliehriat, Meghalaya. He was diagnosed with COVID and pneumonia.

Kanher hailed from Bodra of Balangir district in Sambalpur diocese, Odisha, eastern India. He belonged to Divine Word Province in northeast India.

At the time of his death, he was the principal at the Divine Word School, Lumshnong, Meghalaya, since 2020.

Earlier, he worked as an assistant parish priest at St. Arnold’s Church, Gandachera, Tripura (2002), Holy Spirit Church, Ambassa, Tripura (2005), followed by B.Ed studies at Shillong.

In 2007, Kanher became the assistant parish priest/parish priest and principal at St. Xavier’s School, Changsary, Assam. Later, he served as an assistant parish priest at St. Joseph’s Church, Baganpura, Assam; parish priest and principal at St. Joseph’s School, Bagampara.

In 2016, he worked as an assistant parish priest at Holy Trinity Church, Banderdewa, Arunachal Pradesh. In 2019, he was served as Divine Word Parish, Seppa, Arunanchal Pradesh.

He was born on March 2, 1974, and joined the Society of Divine Word congregation in 1992, Palda, a town in the Indore district in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.

He studied at St. Philomena’s College, Mysore and at Rajendra College Balangir, Odisha and went to Government High School, Chudapali, Balangir.

On June 15, 1997, he took his first religious vows and final vows on January 2, 2001. He was ordained a priest on February 9, 2002.

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