After reports of several incidents of apparent hate crimes surfaced in the United States, an Indian Catholic priest was attacked in Melbourne Church while leading the Sunday Mass on March 19. The attacker’s identity has not been revealed yet and it has been speculated that racism could be the reason behind this attack.

According to the reports of ANI, the 48-year-old priest Rev Tomy Kalathoor, was due to give the 11 am Italian-language mass on March 19, when a 72-year-old man allegedly attacked him with a knife and stabbed him in the neck. It is believed that the offender told the priest that because he was Indian, he must be a Hindu or a Muslim and therefore can’t be saying mass.

The attacker was nabbed by the local police and has been charged with intentionally and recklessly causing injury and bailed to appear in the Broadmeadows Magistrates’ Court on June 13. While the priest has ben taken to a nearby hospital for treatment and later it was learned that Father Tomy is recovering from non-life-threatening injuries.

The Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne has condemned the attack and has termed it appalling.

Last month, a 32-year-old engineer from India, Srinivas Kuchibhotla, was killed in the shooting while another Indian and his colleague Alok Madasani was critically injured and is battling for life at a local hospital. A man identified as Ian Grillot was also injured in the shooting.

Later on March 5, a Sikh man suffered grave injuries after he was shot by an unidentified man. The man was allegedly attacked by a stranger when he was working outside his residence in the Kent city of the Washington state.