06/24/2009, 00.00
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Orissa: nun raped by Hindu extremists recognizes one of her assailants

by Nirmala Carvalho
It is the third person recognized by the religious sister, among the first victims of the anti-Christian pogrom last August. Fr. Chellan who accompanied the nun to Choudwar prison in Cuttack, says: "The change in the political situation seems to have had a positive impact on how investigations are conducted."

Bhubaneshwar (AsiaNews) - Sr. Meena Barware, the religious sister raped by group of radical Hindus last August 25, has recognized another of her assailants.  

Yesterday, accompanied by Fr Thomas Chellan to the prison in Choudwar, Cuttack, the 29 yar old was subjected to another  Test Identification Parade (TIP), the second after that of January 5 last year where she identified two of the ring leaders of the violence.  

Arriving at the prison at 13:30, for an hour or so she had to go through seventy people. Among them Sr. Meena indicated Sitaram Patra. Reached by AsiaNews, Fr Chellan says that he is "not the main culprit accused of the rape" which occurred in the pastoral center at Divyajyoti in K Nuagaon, in the district of Kandhamal (Orissa).  

The priest, a witness and victim of assault in the centre he directed, had accompanied the sister to the first TIP. Fr. Chellan has not participated in the identification, but says that this time "the whole procedure was conducted in a dignified manner, with due attention to the sensitivity of the case." At the beginning of the judicial investigation, Sr. Meena had refused to cooperate in the case because of lack of confidence in the police. Fr. Chellan says that "the change of political situation in the State, with the defeat of the Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party," seems to have had a positive impact on how to conduct investigations. "  

The priest of the diocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneshwar believes that "since the case of Sr. Meena has assumed international importance, the authorities have been taking the investigation more seriously." He added "now seems to be the political will to bring the perpetrators to justice, at least in this case. If the intention is sincere, then the authorities should arrest the main culprits in addition to the 17 already arrested on charges of being involved. "

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