Raped Indian nun denounces police

Saturday, October 25, 2008

NEW DELHI: A Roman Catholic nun raped in the Indian state of Orissa, allegedly during a riot by Hindus, has publicly denounced local police.

The nun held a news conference in the Indian capital, Delhi, in which she demanded that national police take over the investigation.

The Orissa police have been heavily criticised for delays in the case.

More than 30 people have been killed in anti-Christian violence in Orissa’s Kandhamal district in recent months. Thousands of Christians have been made homeless.

The 29-year-old nun lodged a complaint on 25 Aug alleging rape by a member of a Hindu mob. The first arrests in the case were on 3 Oct.

The nun’s head and face were covered with a scarf as she addressed a brief news conference in Delhi.

She alleged that a Hindu mob attacked the Christian prayer hall where she worked in Kandhamal in Orissa. She said a group of some 50 men tore off her clothes. She was then raped before being paraded down the road.

She said when she asked for protection from local police officers, they did not move. And later, she said, they were unwilling to hear the details of her ordeal.

“I was raped and now I don’t want to be victimised by Orissa police,” the nun said.

The violence in Orissa began after a Hindu religious leader was shot dead.

Although left-wing Maoist rebels in the state claimed responsibility for the killing, hard-line Hindu groups blamed the minority Christian community for the death. It is the worst outbreak of communal violence against Christians since Indian independence. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has described it as a national shame.


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