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  • » 01/07/2017, 11.50


    Card. Gracias: acquittal of nun’s alleged rapists grave injustice

    Nirmala Carvalho

    The two criminals accused of having drugged, bound and abused a nun in Chhattisgarh are released "for lack of evidence." Archbishop of Mumbai, "we will challenge the verdict on appeal." The limited percentage of convictions are a danger both for the victims and for society.

    Mumbai (AsiaNews) - The acquittal of the alleged rapists of a nun in Chhattisgarh "is a grave injustice, not only for our consecrated, but also for all women who have suffered a similar trauma” denounces Card. Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Mumbai and president of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC). He was commenting to AsiaNews on the release of the two criminals accused of having drugged, tied up and abused by a Catholic religious Raipur "for lack of evidence". "India's Catholic Church - adds the prelate - will demand justice from a higher court. We will challenge the verdict on appeal".

    According to Card. Gracias, "this acquittal once again brings to our attention the problem of violence against women. It is a huge setback for all of us working for the rights and dignity of women, in particular victims of violence ".

    On January 5, a court of Chhattisgarh released the 19 year old Dinesh Dhurv and 25 year old Jitendra Pathak because of lack of evidence. The archbishop of Mumbai believes that investigations were compromised beyond repair by the "halfhearted attitude of the police," who failed to protect the crime scene and did not collect the traces of the attackers from the victim's body .

    The terrible religious, now 48, who belongs to the Salesian Missionaries of Mary Immaculate (SMMI), courageously told her terrible story. Two masked men broke into her room at the medical center at around 1: 30 am. When she asked them if they wanted money, they replied: "We want something more." At that point one of them blocked her, while the other forced her to ingest the drugs and gagged her with a rag. Then the attackers tied her to the bed with her sari and used a scarf to tie her hands, before taking turns to rape her.

    The nun, originally from Kerala, was alone at the time of the attack. She was found the next day in an unconscious state by her superior, worried about not having received any reply to her calls.

    The state representatives of Congress and the Chhattisgarh Christian Forum have called the incident a "systematic attack against minorities in the State". For its part, the Indian Bishops' Conference (CBCI) has reported  that such incidents raise serious questions about the safety and protection of minorities in India.

    Since the beginning, the Christian leaders have complained about serious shortcomings in the conduct of investigations by the investigators, who had not collected blood, urine and other fluid samples to determine the hallucinogenic substance used to dope the missionary.

    "Their acquittal - concludes the cardinal - will bring serious social consequences and could create problems of public order. The worrying fact is that low conviction rates inflict damage and represent a danger for the victims and for society as a whole. "

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    See also

    05/01/2017 09:49:00 INDIA
    Chhattisgarh, two criminals accused of the rape of a Catholic nun acquitted

    The Kerala missionary was drugged and abused in June 2015. Christian leaders have denounced from the beginning the serious shortcomings in the conduct of investigations. The trial may have been compromised by the negligence of the investigators.

    24/08/2015 INDIA
    Chhattisgarh: serious shortcomings in the investigation into the rape of a Catholic nun
    The National Human Rights Commission slams police for compromising its investigation. The victim was not protected and received no legal or psychological support. Police also made hasty and irresponsible statements to the police.

    01/07/2015 INDIA
    Raipur archbishop: Catholic schools on strike to protest nun’s rape
    Mgr Victor Henry Thakur led today’s demonstration, which involved 30 Christian and some private schools in the state of Chhattisgarh. “Ours is a symbolic shutdown and protest to express our anguish and pain at what happened,” the prelate said.

    19/10/2017 09:21:00 INDIA
    300 Hindu radicals attack Chhattisgarh Protestant church: two seriously injured

    The aggression at the Bastar for Christ Movement Church in Jarpara took place during Sunday prayers. Women and children also beaten. Pastor: "The radicals are supported by the Bjp party in power."

    12/01/2017 13:35:00 INDIA
    Priest falsely accused of raping a child is acquitted in Chhattisgarh

    Fr Joseph Dhanaswami was arrested in September 2015 along with a nun and a school employee. He heads the Jyoti Mission High School in the diocese of Ambikapur, which the alleged victim attended. According to a Christian leader, since nationalists came to power in 2003, "we have had an increased in attacks against Christians”.

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