Friday, October 24, 2008

Raped Nun tells her story

Raped Orissa nun narrates her tale

Friday, 24 October , 2008, 17:47

New Delhi: With a scarf covering her head and face, a sobbing nun who was allegedly raped by a mob in Orissa's Kandhamal district, appeared before the media on Friday to relate her sordid tale and lamented the state police's failure to help her.

Visibly shaken and seemingly not in a state to take any queries, she read out her own handwritten statement giving vivid details of the incident. She left soon after that.

The Archbishop of Cuttack, Raphael Cheenath, who had recently moved the Supreme Court seeking a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), saying that the nun had lost faith in the state police, also accompanied her in the conference. He also did not entertain any questions.

In her written complaint in the district on August 26, two days after the incident, the nun alleged that a mob of about 40 to 50 armed men attacked a house at K Nuagaon village where she along with a priest, Father Thomas Chellantharayil, had taken shelter after their centre was attacked.

The mob dragged her and the priest and took them to the deserted office of an NGO where she was allegedly stripped and raped. The priest was doused with petrol and beaten up.

They also paraded her naked on the streets, she alleged, saying that the incident occurred in the presence of a dozen policemen.


Indian nun recounts rape ordeal

Fri, Oct 24, 2008

NEW DELHI - A nun who was allegedly raped during recent anti-Christian violence in eastern India demanded a federal probe Friday, and accused local police of shielding her attackers.

The nun was reportedly assaulted by a rioting mob on August 25, days after the murder of a Hindu priest sparked attacks by Hindu extremists on the Christian community in coastal Orissa state.

More than half-a-dozen people have been arrested over the incident.

But Mina Barwa told reporters in New Delhi that she had little faith in local police.

Barwa, 29, said she was dragged to a burned-out Christian home where two men held her down and a third raped her. She was then beaten with sticks and paraded semi-naked in the streets as mobs threatened to gang rape her.

"They pulled out my sari and one of them stepped on my right hand and another on my left hand and then a third person raped me," said Barwa, who covered her face with a scarf while speaking.

She was then paraded in the streets, along with a priest.

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

At least 35 people died in weeks of anti-Christian attacks in Orissa and nearly 50,000 fled their homes. Many of them remain in state-run shelters.

Pope Benedict XVI strongly condemned the violence.

This week, India's Supreme Court rejected a plea by a Catholic bishop for a federal investigation into the alleged rape, saying the matter should be probed by the Orissa police.

Religious clashes erupt periodically in India where only 2.3 percent of the more than 1.1 billion population are practising Christians.

Hardline Hindu groups accuse missionaries of bribing poor tribes people and low-caste Hindus to convert to Christianity by offering free education and health care.



Orissa police friendly with attackers, says 'raped' nun

New Delhi, October 24: : Two months after a nun was allegedly raped during the communal violence in Orissa, the victim on Friday came out in public for the first time recounting her traumatic experience and demanded a CBI probe into the incident, charging police of being "friendly" with attackers.

With her face masked, the bespectacled nun in her early thirties accused the Orissa police of failing to protect her from attackers and not being responsive.

Reading out from a four-page hand-written statement at a packed press conference, Sister Meena said she was dragged by a mob of 40-50 people, her clothes ripped apart and was raped on a verandah strewn with glass pieces as two of the attackers stood on her hands.

"They pulled out my saree and one of them stepped on my right hand and another on my left hand and then a third person raped me on the verandah," the nun, who did not take any questions, recounted in a choked voice.