» 08/02/2010, 00.00
Orissa: nun violated during 2008 pogroms identifies another of her rapists
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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