Isha khan’s Weblog

Nun accuses police of complicity in attack
October 25, 2008, 7:56 am
Filed under: India

Nun accuses police of complicity in attack

By Matthias Williams


NEW DELHI (Reuters) – A nun in Orissa has spoken out for the first time on live television about allegations she was gang-raped by more than 40 men in August, accusing police of complicity in Hindu attacks on Christians.


A string of attacks on Christians by Hindus over the controversial issue of conversions in poor tribal areas has killed at least 37 people in the past two months, mainly in Orissa where most of the violence is concentrated.


“State police failed to stop the crimes, failed to protect me from the attackers, they were friendly with the attackers,” Sister Meena told a news conference on Friday.


The nun’s case became part of the wider controversy surrounding the violence, which sparked an international outcry and drew strong condemnation from Pope Benedict.Her face covered by a black scarf, and scarcely looking at the cameras, she gave a blow-by-blow account of a case that has become emblematic of the religious violence that has rocked three states.


The nun’s statement came two days after the Supreme Court denied her appeal to order a federal police probe into the case.Nine people have been arrested so far, and an identity parade is ready to be set up, but the nun has refused to cooperate with Orissa police, saying she does not have faith in them.One officer has already been suspended in the case for dereliction of duty.





In her statement, Sister Meena said she was dragged out of the house where she was sheltering by armed men who first threatened to decapitate her or burn her alive. She was then taken to a deserted building nearby.


“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,” she said.After she was paraded to a nearby market she pleaded the police to help, but “they did not move”, and later tried to stop her writing a full police complaint, asking her if she knew “what will be the consequence” of filing it.


Both India’s central government and Christian leaders have accused the Orissa state government of turning a blind eye.Orissa police came under fire for ignoring a medical report into the case that authorities said confirmed a rape took place.Human rights groups and government ministers suspect militant Hindu groups were responsible for stoking the religious violence to shore up their vote base ahead of elections in 2009.


Hindu groups denied this, and blamed the clashes on the murder of a prominent Hindu missionary and vocal opponent of Christian proselytising.On Tuesday, hundreds of women from the Rashtriya Sevika Samiti — a group that forms part of the hardline Hindu Sangh Parivar — staged a protest in Orissa’s capital Bhubaneswar, demanding the nun be arrested for lying about her rape.


Orissa police say the situation is slowly returning to normal in the state.Tens of thousands of people fled to government relief camps when the violence first broke out.Police say that some have returned home, but estimate 12,000 people, nearly all Christians, are still sheltering in camps in the district of Kandhamal alone, where the rape is alleged to have taken place.
Isha Khan

Leave a Comment so far
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: