By Father George Maliekal, SDB
The Tata Nano car he was travelling in rammed into a stationery truck on NH-6 at Umsawnongkharai near Nongpoh in the Ri Bhoi district of Meghalaya. The police, along with sisters and fathers of Nongpoh parish, rushed the injured first to Nongpoh Civil Hospital and later to NEIGRIHMS.
The team of doctors at NEIGRIHMS conducted surgery on him to stop the swelling and brain hemorrhage. On Friday, 19 January, a tracheostomy was also performed. But he responded little to the round the clock medical attention that was given him. He passed away at 7:55 PM, 21 January.
Father Ponthuruthil's body was taken to the Sacred Heart Theological College and placed in the Shrine of the Sacred Heart. The requiem Mass was held at 5.00 PM on 22 January, after which the body was taken to Salesian College Dimapur in Nagaland for burial at 2.00 PM, 23 January.
Father Poonthuruthil, the former Provincial Superior of Dimapur Province, with a doctoral degree in Moral Theology from Alfonsiana, Rome, with the thesis ''Towards Responsibility: A Study of Erik H Erikson's Theory of Psychosocial Development and Viktor E Frankl's theory of Logotherapy'' served the Church in Northeast India in various capacities.
He was registrar of the Sacred Heart College from 1988 to 1992; and from 1994 to 1995. He was rector of the Salesian College of Higher Education, Dimapur, during 1995-2001. He became the president of the Sacred Heart Theological College, Shillong, in 2003, a post he held for three years. He was then appointed as Provincial Superior of the Salesian Province of Dimapur, Nagaland, from 2006 to 2012. A year later, he was appointed director of Integrated Training for Laity and Religious and as Rector of the Mathias Institute, Mawlai. Last May, he had also become Rector of the Sacred Heart Theological College Shillong.