Friday, October 24, 2008

Raped Indian nun denounces police

The nun appearing in Delhi
The nun now refuses to co-operate with the Orissa police

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 August alleging rape by a member of a Hindu mob. The first arrests in the case were on 3 October.


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

Smoke rises from the rubble of a Christian orphanage destroyed in Orissa
Orissa has seen weeks of violence

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.

"They had already torn away my blouse and undergarments... and they went on beating me with hands on my cheeks and head and with sticks on my back."

She said that 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.

A heavy security presence in Kandhamal has brought the situation under some control now.


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