Orissa pogrom: three convicted, six acquitted of gang rape of Sister Meena Barwa
Mumbai (AsiaNews) - This morning, a Cuttack district court sentenced three people and acquitted six others for the gang rape of Sister Meena Barwa, carried out by Hindu fundamentalists during the anti-Christian pogroms in Kandhamal (Orissa) in 2008. Originally 10 people were accused of having violated the nun. Nine were arrested, one was never found.
Sr. Meena, of the Servite religious order, worked in Divyajyoti pastoral center in K Nuagaon (Kandhamal district), alongside Fr. Thomas Chellan. On 25 August 2009, together with the priest she was seized, beaten, stripped naked and dragged through the village. At one point, the fundamentalists wanted to burn her alive together with the priest. Instead, they raped her. They were only freed by police late in the evening, after continuous beating and torture.
The nun's uncle is Msgr. John Barwa, the Archbishop of Cuttack -Bhubaneshwar, who has supported and accompanied her in the long rehabilitation process and during the trial.
In 2010, the Orissa High Court transferred the case from a district court in Kandhamal to Cuttack, because the victim had expressed concern for her life. A total of 29 witnesses were heard.