If judiciary fails, god will do justice, says Kandhamal priest

December 14th, 2008 - 10:19 am ICT by IANS  

K. Nuagam (Orissa), Dec 14 (IANS) The priest at a pastoral centre, the blackened remains of which are a testimony to the horror of anti-Christian riots in Kandhamal district, says the community has full faith in god and is confident that the nun who was raped by a rampaging mob will get justice soon.”We are a peace-loving people and believe in god. We have full faith that the almighty will give justice even if the judiciary fails,” Father Dushmant Nayak of Divya Jyoty Pastoral Centre in K. Nuagam village in Kandhamal told IANS, giving his account of the rape of the centre’s 29-year-old nun and the trauma the community has gone through in the past three months.

The Catholic nun was allegedly raped by armed rioters Aug 25, two days after the murder of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four others in his ashram at Jaleshpatta, about 55 km from the pastoral centre. The spiral of violence against Christians and their properties in Orissa had just begun.

“All was good and brotherhood prevailed in our place until the swami (Laxmanananda) was killed by some criminals for some reasons,” Nayak said, rubbishing the claims by Hindu groups that some Christian organisations had engineered the plot to kill the religious leader.

“As I said, we are peace-loving people and I don’t believe that anyone from our community could be behind the murder. As a representative of the Christian community, I strongly condemn the killing,” he said.

On Maoists claiming responsibility for killing Laxmanananda, Nayak said he and his community had no idea who killed him and why. “But, it is a crime and I condemn the murder,” he said.

When asked why the nun was avoiding an identification parade, he said: “She has completely lost faith in the local administration and police, who chose to remain mute spectators when the mob was parading her naked on the road.”

“How would you trust those who had turned deaf to your screams for life?” he said, noting that over a dozen policemen were present at the police outpost where she and Father Thomas Chellan were dragged and severely beaten up.

Chellan, who left Kandhamal following the incident, is now recuperating in his hometown in Kerala and could not be contacted over phone.

According to Nayak, hundreds of people participating in the funeral procession of Laxmanananda Aug 24 stopped at the centre and started ransacking the building, putting everything on fire.

“The burnt walls of the building and the heap of ash and debris inside each room are the chilling testimony to that horrific incident,” he said, adding that all those who were present in the church at that time fled into nearby forests to save their lives.

Chellan and the nun however were given shelter by a Hindu family near the church. But the next afternoon a mob of 50-60 people stormed the house and dragged them out before physically and sexually assaulting them, Nayak said.

He said they had neither planned anything for Christmas nor was there any mood to celebrate the festival. “What is the meaning of celebrating at this time of horror and acute pain?” he asked, adding many people have lost family members and most of the community members were now sheltered in refugee camps.

“There is no life and hence no celebration,” Nayak said.

“Instead, we will pray for those killed and for the end of suffering of others,” he said and added: “We will also pray for the spiritual relaxation and replenishment of our Hindu brothers. May Lord give them knowledge and power to think what is right and what is wrong.”

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