Accused in nun rape case brought to Orissa

October 14th, 2008 - 9:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Oct 14 (IANS) Three persons arrested in Kerala for their involvement in the alleged rape of a nun in Orissa’s Kandhamal district in August were brought to the state by a state police party Tuesday, police said.Prima facie evidences suggest their involvement in the crime, deputy superintendent of Orissa Crime Branch police Jayashree Kundo told reporters.

“The accused persons who were brought on remand will have to undergo medical examinations,” she said.

The trio - identified as Mitu Patnaik, Saroj Ghadai and Munna Ghadai - were arrested from Palghat area of Kerala last week. 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 this month 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 that 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 state government earlier this month 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.

Police officials who are investigating the crime, however, said they are not getting cooperation from the complainant and the priest who witnessed the crime.

The Archbishop of Cuttack Bhubaneswar Raphael Cheenath said he has no faith in Orissa police. He has petitioned the Supreme Court seeking a probe into the rape case by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

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 of the mob. The priest was doused with petrol and beaten up.

The mob 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.

District superintendent of police S. Praveen Kumar Tuesday told IANS that police have arrested over 600 people till today for their involvement in communal violence.

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