Kandhamal nun gangrape trial begins

July 26th, 2010 - 9:27 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, July 26 (IANS) A court in Orissa Monday began the trial of an alleged gangrape of a nun in the state’s Kandhamal district during communal clashes in 2008.
The trial began in the court of district and sessions Judge Bira Kishore Mishra at Cuttack, some 26 km from here, the nun’s counsel Manas Ranjan Singh told IANS.

The 29-year-old Catholic nun was attacked by a mob and raped at Nuagaon village in Kandhamal district Aug 24, 2008, when communal violence in the region was at its peak.

Singh said the Crime Branch which probed the case has arrested at least 23 people and filed four chargesheets. In the first phase, the court will try at least nine accused.

Kandhamal district, about 200 km from here, witnessed widespread violence after the murder of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four of his aides at his ashram Aug 23 last year. Police had blamed Maoists for the killings.

At least 38 people were killed in the state and thousands of Christians forced to flee their homes after their houses were attacked by rampaging mobs.

The gangrape of the nun had sparked an international outcry and drew strong condemnation.

B.K. Mohanty, an investigating official, told IANS that at least eight people wanted in the case were still at large. The trial was transferred to Cuttack following a directive by the high court.

The case was shifted after the victim said the trial will not be free and fair in the fast-track court at Baliguda in Kandhamal and there was a threat to her life.

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