23 June 2017
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  • » 01/05/2017, 09.49

    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.

    Raipur (AsiaNews) - A court in Chhattisgarh has acquitted two young men accused of the rape of a Catholic nun for "lack of evidence".  The religious sister was drugged and abused during the night between 19 and 20 June 2015 at Christ Sahaya Kendra (Christ Support Centre ) of Raipur. The 19 year old and 25 year old Dinesh Dhurv Jitendra Pathak were released by the court because Judge Nidhi Sharma said not enough evidence was collected against them.

    In all likelihood the investigations were compromised beyond repair by police, who after the discovery of the nun did not close off the crime area and did not carry out a proper forensic investigation, such as lifting evidence 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.

    Following the indignation of the entire Catholic community and the protests of the opposition parties, police questioned more than 200 people,  to narrow the field to two accused, who are now once again free and at large.

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    See also

    07/01/2017 11:50:00 INDIA
    Card. Gracias: acquittal of nun’s alleged rapists grave injustice

    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.



    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.

    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”.



    18/07/2014 INDIA
    For Catholic doctor, violence against women can destroy India
    A member of the Pontifical Academy for Life talks to AsiaNews about the gang rape of a novice in Bangalore. "The fight against this culture of violence must start with respect for life, especially for the girls for whom violence begins in the womb with female feticide and infanticide," he said.



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