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  • » 11/19/2008, 00.00


    Sister who was raped gives deposition to police, but will not return to Orissa

    Sister Meena and Fr. Thomas Chellan have recounted the violence they suffered on the night they were assaulted by Hindu fundamentalists. This sister remains in Delhi, and will not participate in the "American-style" lineup scheduled today in Baliguda. Ministers of the central government are meeting with Christian families from Orissa living in refugee camps.

    Delhi (AsiaNews/Agencies) - About three months after their assault, Sister Meena Barwa and Fr. Thomas Chellan have told investigators about the violence they suffered on the night of last August 25, during the first days of attacks against Christians.

    Their statements were recorded by the anti-crime section of the Orissa police, who came to Delhi to meet with the sister and priest. Inspector general Arun Ray confirms that the sister and priest - she was the victim of sexual violence, and both suffered brutal beatings - gave a deposition between 5:00 and 7:30 p.m. on November 18, in the presence of a team of investigators who had come from Orissa for that purpose.

    The sister, still dealing with the violence she suffered, has repeatedly said that she does not want to go back to Baliguda, in the district of Kandhamal, where today, November 19, an "American-style" lineup is scheduled to proceed with the identification of those responsible for her rape. The sister has always maintained her firm refusal, saying she does not trust the police of Orissa, some of whom she accuses of covering for those who perpetrated the violence.

    Raphel Cheenath, archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, says that during the meeting between the religious and the policemen from Orissa in Delhi, they "supplied their version of the events." The bishop also explains that the sister cannot participate in the "American-style" lineup scheduled for today because the trip is too long and she still seems to be suffering from shock.

    On November 18, a delegation of ministers from the central government went to Orissa to visit the places that were the theater of the massacres against Christians: it was composed of agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, social justice minister Meira Kumar, and the minister for tribal affairs, P.R. Kyndiah. The ministers met with families living in refugee camps in Raikia: these expressed their desire to go home, while denouncing the persistent climate of violence and persecution that makes this impossible.

    The government delegation finally visited the Jalespata ashram in Tumudibandha, where the assassination of Hindu fundamentalist leader Lakshmanananda Saraswati and four followers took place, used as the pretext for the pogrom against the Christians.

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    See also

    24/10/2008 INDIA
    Sister raped in Orissa accuses police of being "friendly" toward rapists
    For the first time, after almost two months, the religious testifies in public to the violence she suffered at the beginning of the fundamentalist Hindu attacks in the district of Kandhamal.

    25/02/2009 INDIA
    Government blocks rebuilding of church in Orissa
    The church was about to be turned into a Hindu temple. The authorities have stopped construction, but they are not permitting the Catholics to rebuild the edifice, for "legal" reasons.

    10/10/2008 INDIA
    Indian activist: Massacre of Christians planned in advance
    Lenin Raghuvanshi has visited Orissa as a member of a fact-finding team established by the European commission for the prevention of torture. Hindu radicals have a program for expunging Christians from the region and reconverting tribals and pariahs to Hinduism.

    09/01/2017 14:32:00 INDIA
    Nun in Kandhamal: crucified Christ compelled her to serve

    Sister Prabhati Sual Singh took her vows together with six other sisters, joining the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Annecy. The newly consecrated comes from Kandhamal district, scene of widespread persecution by Hindu radicals in 2008.

    16/09/2008 INDIA
    More anti-Christian violence in Orissa; school attacked in Kerala
    A Christian has been killed and dozens of homes have been burned. Police are clashing with Hindu militants. The tension is spreading in Kerala, and remains high in Karnataka, where the government is accused of conniving with the fundamentalists.

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