Three more arrested for raping Orissa nun

October 11th, 2008 - 10:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Oct 11 (IANS) Three more people were arrested Saturday for their involvement in the alleged gang-rape of a nun in Orissa’s Kandhamal district, where communal clashes since Aug 23 have claimed least 35 lives and rendered thousands homeless.The trio - identified as Mitu Patnaik, Saroj Ghadai and Munna Ghadai - were arrested from Palghat area of Kerala, inspector (Crime Branch) of Orissa police P.K. Das said.

This takes to eight the number of people arrested in the case.

Earlier this week, police had arrested five people - Santosh Pradhan, Juria Pradhan, Kartik Pradhan, Biren Kumar Sahu and Tapas Kumar Patnaik.

The nun had Aug 26 filed a police complaint of gang-rape. However, police collected her medical examination report only last week after the media reported the delay and Sister Nirmala, superior general of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, wrote to state authorities seeking justice for the nun.

The medical examination confirmed the nun was raped.

The Orissa government suspended the inspector in charge of the Baliguda police station, where the nun had filed her complaint.

The nun, meanwhile, has left Orissa. The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) government earlier this week sent police teams to New Delhi and Kerala to contact the nun but without success. It has, however, assured all help and protection to the nun and said she needs to return to Orissa and identify the culprits.

According to the nun’s written complaint, a mob of about 40 to 50 armed men attacked a house at K. Nuagaon village where she along with a priest, Father Thomas Chellantharayil, had taken shelter after their centre was attacked.

The mob dragged her and the priest and took them to the deserted office of an NGO where she was allegedly stripped and raped by one from the mob. The priest was doused with petrol and beaten up.

They also paraded her naked on the streets, she alleged, saying that the incident occurred in the presence of a dozen policemen.

Christians and their places of worship in Kandhmal district have been facing mob attacks since Aug 23, when a Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader and four of his aides were killed. Maoists have claimed responsibility for the murder, but many Hindu groups hold Christians responsible for it.

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