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    » 08/02/2010, 00.00

    INDIA

    Orissa: nun violated during 2008 pogroms identifies another of her rapists

    Santosh Digal

    Sister Meena recognized the rapist among a group of 30 people. Of these three suspects were real. The identification was made on July 31. To date, she has identified four of ten religious extremists who had beaten and raped her during the pogroms of 2008. Because of continuing threats faced by Christians her case was moved in 2009 from the District Court in Kandhamal to Cuttack.

    Cuttack (AsiaNews) - Despite difficulties, the trial against the Hindu extremist authors of anti-Christian pogroms that erupted in the district of Kandhamal (Orissa) in the summer of 2008, continue. On July 31, Sister Meena, the nun beaten and raped during the violence, recognized the fourth of her 10 rapists, allowing investigators to proceed. The Religious identified her rapist among a group of 30 people. Of these three suspects were real. In the two previous line-ups, which took place Jan. 5, 2009 and June 23, 2010, the nun had identified three other rapists.

    Sr. Meena Barwa, of the Servite religious order, worked in the Divyajyoti pastoral centre in K Nuagaon in Kandhamal district, along with a priest, Fr Thomas Chellan. The sister was born in the district of Sambalpur, and made her final vows last April. On 25 August 2008, together with the priest who worked at the Centre, she was taken, beaten, stripped and made to walk through the village. At one point, the fundamentalists wanted to even burn her alive with the priest. Instead, they raped her. Only at the end, late at night, while still being abused and beaten, were they released by the police (See: AsiaNews.it, 10.25.2008 I, Sr. Meena, raped by Hindus while police stood watching).

    Fr. Dibakar Parichha, the priest in charge of investigations on behalf of the Archdiocese of Cuttack - Bubaneswar, hopes that with this new piece in the puzzle "Sister Meena will get justice and that the perpetrators will be officially entered in the suspects register".

    In 2009, for safety reasons the case of Sr. Menna was moved from the district court of Kandhamal to that of Cuttack. So far the ongoing climate of intolerance in Kandhamal does not allow the course of investigations and several witnesses have been threatened with violence outside the courts. Out 12 murder cases filed in district court in Phulbani, the most important of Kandhamal, only three have been resolved with convictions.

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    See also

    27/11/2010 INDIA
    Orissa: Christians have lost faith in justice
    The release on bail of Hindu Manoy Pradhan, previously convicted for murder, marks a blow for the trial against the perpetrators of anti-Christian pogrom of 2008. Judges accused of being biased and ignoring Christians’ cry for justice who announce appeal to the High Court.

    02/09/2010 INDIA
    Christian leaders: Orissa government still ignores pogrom victims
    Archbishop Cheenath and the president of Orissa Minority Forum demand sentences for perpetrators, compensation for the victims and peace initiatives. The movement creates a youth wing to address community needs. To date there are still 3500 houses to rebuild.

    20/10/2012 INDIA
    Supreme Court: Fresh investigations into anti-Christian violence in Kandhamal
    The highest court in India demands Orissa account for the numerous acquittals related to the pogroms of 2008. Of 185 trials, only 64 convictions and all for minor offenses. No sentence for murder, rape, looting, arson. A report compiled by an NGO led the Supreme Court to action.

    23/08/2013 INDIA
    Anti-Christian pogroms in Orissa have strengthened people’s faith and unity
    The Archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneshwar recalls the destruction of the violence of 2008 and speaks of how the Christians have been able to pick themselves up again. August 25 will mark five years since the beginning of pogroms. Today, Msgr. Barwa decribes his "pride" in the population of Kandhamal, for their efforts to rebuild homes, churches and the souls of those who survived.

    08/08/2012 INDIA
    Orissa court reopens Christian murder case dismissed by police
    Michael Nayak was killed in Baliguda (Kandhamal) on 20 July of last year by a group of Hindu extremists. Police had dismissed the case as an ordinary accident. The president of the Global Council of Indian Christians calls on the authorities to investigate other cold cases involving Christian victims of extremists and the 2008 Orissa pogroms.



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