Is convent harassing Kerala nun for tell-all writing?

November 8th, 2008 - 7:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 8 (IANS) The relatives of a 59-year-old nun in Kerala say she has been forcibly kept in mental hospitals for over a month to stop her from publishing details of “undesirable goings-on” at her convent, in another controversy to hit the church in the state.Treesa Thomas, a nun at the Divine Mary Convent at Anchal in Kollam district, 50 km from here, was first admitted to a private hospital in Idukki district in October and then shifted to the Government Mental Hospital here on the grounds that she is mentally unstable.

But her relatives as well as a state women’s commission member have said that she seems to be in perfect health.

Thomas’ nephew Santhosh Joseph said: “She had last month called up my brother Benny in Ireland asking him to save her because she was being tormented by her superiors at the convent.

“It was only after Benny arrived that we came to know why our aunt was being harassed. Our aunt has given a diary that contains details of the happenings at the convent which made the superiors upset and prompted them to say our aunt is mentally unstable,” said Santhosh.

Benny arrived last month and complained to the Kerala State Women’s Commission and the Kerala State Human Rights Commission.

“Following this, P.K. Sainaba, a member of the Women’s Commission, met our aunt at the private hospital and has since submitted a report to the government stating that our aunt has no ailment.”

Sainaba told IANS that she spent more than an hour with Treesa and found her in perfect shape.

“Even though I am not a psychiatrist, I am certain after my conversation with her that she is a normal person. She said she was being harassed because she had written about certain undesirable events in a book which she wanted to publish. This was objected to by the convent authorities,” said Sainaba.

Sainaba said she has submitted a report to the state government detailing the harassment being meted out to the nun.

Contrary to the statements of the convent authorities, Santhosh’s mother, who is Treesa’s sister-in-law, said there was no history of mental instability in the nun’s family.

“To the best of our knowledge, we don’t know of any such family member with mental instability,” said Santhosh’s mother.

Abdul Bari, the doctor who is treating Treesa at the Government Mental Hospital here, said she had been there for the past week.

Kerala State Human Rights Commission member Justice A. Lekshmikutty said she had received a complaint about the case from Benny and asked the convent authorities to appear before her Monday.

This is the latest in a series of controversies to hit the church in Kerala.

In August, Sister Anupa Mary, a 24-year-old, committed suicide in her convent in Kollam after allegedly being sexually abused by her superior.

The mystery over the death of Sister Abhaya, whose body was found in a well in St.Pious Convent in Kottayam in 1992, also continues. Last week, the high court said the Kerala unit of the CBI should take up the investigation.

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