Mumbai (AsiaNews) - A 47 year old Catholic nunhas been attacked and harassed by a group of men on the night of June 19th at Krist Sahaya Kendra, a nursing home in Raipur (Chhattisgarh). The woman religious, belonging to the Salesian Missionaries of Mary Immaculate (SMMI), was found tied up, unconscious and half-naked in the early morning hours of 20 by two other girls who live with her in the center.
The sister has been admitted to a state hospital. Police are investigating and have assigned two policewomen the task of questioning the victim, to help reconstruct the attack.
It is still unclear whether she suffered sexual violence or not. The nun is still in a daze from the trauma. According to her initial statements two masked men entered her room looking for money and valuables. Finding nothing, they attacked her. However, the police found 25 thousand rupees in a cupboard in her room, putting in doubt that a robbery might have been the motive of the attack.
Msgr. Theodore Mascarenhas, auxiliary bishop of Ranchi (Jharkhand), told AsiaNews: "This is not just a crime against a Christian nun. It is a crime against the very dignity of women of India. It shows a complete lack of respect for our mothers, sisters and daughters. More importantly these events trouble us as citizens of a great nation traditionally known for its religious tolerance ".
The prelate, a former official of the Pontifical Council for Culture, said: "I am so sad that India' s image is tarnished the world over on account of these unchecked crimes. One can only wonder where the promised good governance has disappeared as the Government looks increasingly helpless or even insensitive. For its own sake it is time that the Government gets up from its sleep or its indifference. We want protection for everyone who is vulnerable in our country. We do not want to hear again that these are deeds of petty criminals. And if it is so, a government that cannot stop these petty criminals from committing these terrible crimes is itself petty".
Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), told AsiaNews: "GCIC condemns this assault on the Religious Nun in strongest terms, this is inhuman, totally condemnable and horrendous. This sordid episode is not an isolated case, and the slow wheels of justice deepen the trauma and perpetrate this evil”. “ This violation on a Religious Nun” he added “is doubly heinous as she is Consecrated women, regrettably, in our nation, while women are venerated as Goddess, in society women are devalued, undermines their dignity and security”.
Through a statement, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI) urged "the Government of Chhattisgarh and the central government to act quickly and catch the culprits involved in this heinous crime and to provide adequate security and protection to Christian missionaries, whose untiring service to the poor has been widely acclaimed by all of Indian civil society. "
"Similar incidents of violence against minorities, and in particular on women, tarnishes the image of our country in the eyes of the international community, as well as ask serious questions about how safe minorities are today in India ".