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    » 11/17/2011, 00.00

    INDIA

    India, funeral for Catholic nun murdered by Coal Mafia

    Nirmala Carvalho

    Sister Valsa, 53, of the Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary, had worked for 20 years with the Santal tribals in the region of Dhumka. A gang shot her in cold blood in front of her house. In the past she had received numerous threats from members of the local mafia for issues related to settlements close to the coal mines. Local bishop: "Her martyrdom strengthens and renews the Church's mission in India."
    Dhumka (AsiaNews) – The funeral of Sister Valsa John, originally from Kerala took place this morning in the cathedral of Dumka (Jharkhand State). The Catholic religious was gunned down on the night of November 15 last by a group of unknown persons. Among the crowd that filled the cathedral, the brother, sister and two nephews of the nun, who for 20 years dedicated her life to the Santal tribal region. Bishop Julius Marandi of Dumka, told AsiaNews: "Her violent death was a terrible shock and a great loss to the Church. We seek justice, but while we mourn this loss, our mission for the poor, the weak and voiceless will continue, strengthened and renewed by the blood of Sister Valsa, who now intercedes for human rights, justice, dignity and hope of these people. "

    There have been no official statements yet regarding the murder of Sister Valsa, which took place in front of her house, but many suspect the coal Mafia, which operates in the region, is responsible. The Catholic nun, 53 years, belonged to the Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary and several times had been approached by local crime gang member, for issues related to the coal mines. "Our sister – says her elder brother MJ Baby, - had told us about the threats, but was firm on her positions in favor of the tribals. I did not think the would kill her. " The family had seen the nun for the last time in August, when she returned to Kochi for a brief visit.

    Fr. Tom Kavala, SJ, who has worked for over 15 years with the nun, told AsiaNews: "Sister Valsa created a tribal organization to stop the expropriation of land sought by the powerful coal lobbies, including helping them to obtain compensation from companies. Six years ago, one of these lobbies e tried to buy out nine villages and Sister Valsa mobilized the local poor people. These coal barons lodged 33 complaints against her and her supporters, and many of them ended up in prison".

    "Sister Valsa - said Mgr. Marandi - paid for her struggle for the poor and defenseless, against the interests of the powerful coal mafia with her life. The Church of Dumka and all Jharkhand pray that her martyrdom will renew the mission of the Church to be a witness of faith. "

    After taking her vows in 1984, Sister Valsa started teaching economics at St George High School in Kochi (Kerala), but soon left teaching to devote her life to mission among the Dhumka tribals. In 2007 she was arrested for protesting against a coal mine built illegally on land of the tribals in the district of Pakur.

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    See also

    30/11/2012 INDIA
    The sacrifice and apostolate of Sister Valsa, nun murdered by the coal mafia
    A year after her death, the archbishop of New Delhi marks the martyrdom of the Catholic nun with a Mass and a meeting. A fellow member of the Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary spoke about Sister Valsa's "growing isolation" from "Church and congregation". The nun was advocate for the rights of Santal Tribals in the area of Dumka (Jharkand).

    19/11/2011 INDIA
    Secular and Christians demand justice for the nun murdered by the Mafia Coal
    All appeals denounce the "shameless" link between the powerful coal companies and the State. Fr. Cedric Prakash, director of the Center for Justice and Peace in Ahmedabad Prashant: "The Martyrdom of Sister Valsa is a challenge for the Church in India." Sajan K George, President of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC): "The government, led by Hindu extremists, is the real culprit."

    21/11/2011 INDIA
    Sister Valsa murder: police try to bury case by arresting people close to the Maoists
    But the Church is continuing its investigations into the coal mafia. According to Father Tom Kavalatt SJ, longtime friend of the Catholic nun and director of the Social Action Centre, the seven arrested "are a cover to protect the interests of others."

    24/11/2008 INDIA
    Indian Church defend priests and nun arrested for nun’s murder in 1992
    In 1992 a nun was found dead in a well. After years of fruitless investigations, police arrest two priests and a nun. The Church is raising doubts about their guilt, urges the faithful to “pray for the truth.”

    21/05/2011 INDIA
    Process underway for canonization of Sister Euphrasia of Kerala
    She was beatified just two years ago. She will be the second religious from Kerala to be declared a saint.



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