Court directs Orissa nun to attend identification parade Nov 19 (Lead)

November 10th, 2008 - 9:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Nov 10 (IANS) A court in Orissa Monday directed the nun who was allegedly raped in Orissa during the communal violence in August to attend a test identification parade of the accused Nov 19, a government lawyer said.She has been directed to attend the identification parade at Baliguda in Kandhamal district, some 300 km from here.

“The nun had sought one month’s time through her lawyer from the court citing that the she was ill and could not come,” assistant public prosecutor B. Loknath Dorai from Baliguda told IANS.

“However, the court of Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate Dola Gobinda Barik at Baliguda re-fixed the date to Nov 19 rejecting her plea for one month’s time and directed the nun to attend the legal procedure on scheduled date,” Dorai said.

The same court had issued notice to the nun last month, directing her to be present at the test identification parade at Baliguda on Nov 10.

“She is ready to cooperate but she could not come to Kandhamal as she is facing trauma and won’t be able to travel,” Archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar Raphael Cheenath told reporters.

In her written complaint Aug 26, two days after the incident, the nun said that a mob of about 40 to 50 armed men attacked a house at K. Nuagaon village where she along with a priest, Thomas Chellantharayil, had taken shelter after their centre was attacked.

The mob dragged her and the priest outside and took them to a deserted office of an NGO where she was allegedly raped. They also paraded her naked on the streets, she said, adding that the incident occurred in the presence of several policemen.

The nun had narrated her ordeal at a press conference in New Delhi last month and said that she did not have faith in Orissa police and wanted a federal probe into the crime. She has now urged that the identification parade be carried out outside the state.

“We have requested that identification parade be done outside Orissa,” Cheenath said.

Orissa’s Kandhamal district witnessed widespread anti-Christian attacks after the murder of Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four of his aides at his ashram Aug 23.

While police blamed Maoists for the crime, some Hindu organisations alleged Christians were behind the killings and launched attacks on the community. Christian groups have repeatedly said they had nothing to do with Saraswati’s murder.

The violence left at least 38 people dead and thousands of Christian had to flee to the jungles to escape rampaging mobs.

While some have returned, more than 10,000 are still living in government-run relief camps in the district.

The murder of 40-year-old Dhanu Pradhani, an activist of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) by suspected Maoists Nov 5, led to fresh tension in the region.

Christian leaders have requested Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to retain the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel deployed in Kandhamal till the end of the general elections due next year.

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