» 07/28/2010, 00.00
Sr. Meena, the raped nun, "a witness of Light and Truth for the Church in India"
On the eve of the trial against the rapists of Sister Meena, the religious sister attacked during anti-Christian pogrom in Orissa, her uncle Mgr. Barwa speaks: "She is the symbol of our struggle. She feels no anger, but want justice for us all. "
Kandhamal (AsiaNews) - Sister Meena, the religious sister beaten and raped during the bloody anti-Christian pogrom that erupted in Orissa during the summer of 2008, "is the symbol of our struggle, the witness of the Light and Truth." the Bishop of Rourkela tells AsiaNews. Mgr. John Barwa dioceses is in the eastern state of Orissa,: he is also the victim's uncle and has accompanied and supported her during the trial of the Hindu extremists raped her.
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) .
The case has arrived at the court of judge Bira Kishore Misra. The local Christian community accuse the authorities of collusion with extremists and the trial of sister Meena is seen as the right opportunity to demonstrate the population’s desire for justice. The nun, the bishop says, "becomes stronger every day, nourished by Eucharistic Adoration, Mass and the Rosary. Sure, there are rare moments in which she experiences a sense of imprisonment, fatigue and pain, but through the prayers of the whole tribal Church she gains strength and overcomes these crisis".
On 23 July she celebrated her birthday: "She is five times more courageous than I and encourages me in my mission as Bishops. Sister Meena is pursuing her studies and academic career, she attends college (where nobody knows who she is) and travels by public transport". In fact this has created concerns for her safety: "For me, for our people and for the Church in Orissa, she is proof of the victory of light over darkness."
Of course, he adds, "all those clothed with darkness, will never want the truth and light to be revealed, that is the reason, why we need to protect her, and not disclose her whereabouts, so that the Light remains.” The nun’s witness also derives from her family background, and tribal origins.
As the Bishop explains, "We come from a very rural background, my home is in the jungle, and from such a rural and very ordinary family, God has chosen one of our family member (Sr Meena) as an instrument of his courage, strength and witness and this encourages me to work and serve our Tribal Church. We owe everything to the Missionaries, they brought us out of the jungles and helped us to discover the divine and from our simple humble rural family. God has a Divine Plan for Sr Meena and no situation should block the growth of this plan "
Regarding the impending trial, Mgr. Barwa says: "I asked Sister Meena directly if she felt scared or angry, but she said no. She is seeking justice not only for herself but also for our people, but she is not angry. With regards the identification of the culprits, she said that it is God who enlightens her and the Holy Spirit that gives her the strength to face them again. The last time we were together before such a moment, we held a beautiful Eucharistic celebration together with her superior, we celebrated for over three hours in prayer, with the Word of God, in Eucharistic healing. A gift of grace and peace for all of us. "(NC),
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.
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.
Orissa pogrom: three convicted, six acquitted of gang rape of Sister Meena Barwa
The Cuttack district court issues a controversial ruling. The Servite religious sister was raped by Hindu fundamentalists during the anti-Christian violence of 2008.
Orissa: two men involved in 2008 nun rape are released
Out of 30 people charged, only 22 have been arrested. Of these, 17 have been released on bail. For Cuttack-Bhubaneshwar archbishop, this is “a heartbreak for those who suffered” and “the situation now appears discouraging.”
Cardinal Gracias: A year from the pogroms in Orissa, hope "for a new beginning"
According to the Archbishop of Mumbai and president of the Catholic Bishops, the anti-Christian violence in Orissa was "one of the saddest moments in the history of India." The country "needs to restore its glorious multi-cultural, multi-religious and multi-linguistic tradition”.
EGYPT – LEBANON
Muslims and Christians meet in Cairo for Jerusalem, 'the cause of causes'
A conference was held on 16-17 January at al-Azhar. Many prominent figures from Lebanon took part, including the Maronite Patriarch Bechara Al-Rahi. The Arab world is divided between "complicit passivity" and "noisy but ineffective speeches". For a former Lebanese premier, coordinated actions are needed to ensure greater efficacy on behalf of Jerusalem’s "pluralistic identity " and "religious freedom". Card Al-Rahi called for joint prayers, Islamic-Christian interfaith solidarity in the Arab world, and support for the Palestinians.
15/01/2018 LEBANON - SYRIA
AsiaNews IS ALSO A MONTHLY!
AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.