Mumbai (AsiaNews) - The brutal gang rape of a young photojournalist in Mumbai "reflects the decline in the spiritual, social and cultural life of our country. It is urgent to bring God back at the centre of our lives-in the family, in society, in the workplace-and lead us to the values of the Gospel," said Card Oswald Gracias.
Speaking to AsiaNews about the latest case of sexual assault that shocked the nation, the archbishop of Mumbai said that the incident, which occurred on 22 August, produced "deep anguish and anger." It "is the worst thing a woman can undergo. Rape is physical and psychological terrorism, an abominable crime against the honour of women."
The victim, a young 22-year-old photojournalist, was working as an intern at an English-language magazine based in Mumbai. Accompanied by a colleague, on that day she went to Shakti Mills, an abandoned former textile factory, to make a photo shoot. As they were leaving at the end of their work, they were attacked.
Surrounded by three men, they were told that they were not allowed to take pictures. The young woman phoned her boss, who told her to leave right away.
Then things got worse. The men, five of them at this point, beat up and tied the woman's colleague; then dragged her behind a wall, turned off her cell phone and gang raped her.
According to the police, who eventually arrested all the suspects, the attackers forced the victim to clean up her own blood at the scene. At present, the young woman is in hospital in stable condition.
Maharashtra's chief minister ordered a speedy trial against the five men, who are aged 18 to 23. Their case is similar to another serious gang rape in New Delhi, in December 2012.
"Unfortunately, our women and our children suffer violence and abuse even in their families, as well as in a society that humiliates, degrades, discriminates, excludes and exploits them," Card Gracias told AsiaNews. "As morality is corroded and values corrupted, our system of values is seriously compromised."
"The Church is a tool to serve society and the nation through education and our facilities," the CBCI president said.
"I have already asked our schools to inculcate the values of justice and respect for gender not only to students but also to parents. Mothers and fathers are important in raising awareness of how we treat women in our families. The Church in Mumbai and all of India will encourage a noble culture and society, built on equality, justice and respect between men and women. "
For decades, the Indian Church has dedicated 8 September, feast day of the Nativity of Mary, to girls.