Nun’s rape: Orissa may move court for identification parade

October 24th, 2008 - 12:31 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Oct 24 (IANS) Orissa may move the court soon to seek a date to conduct a test identification parade of the suspects in the alleged rape of a nun in Kandhamal district, officials said Friday.After obtaining a date from the court, the crime branch will request the nun to appear on the day to identify the culprits, a crime branch official told IANS.

The victim has been untraceable after she filed a written complaint in the district on Aug 26, two days after the incident.

In her complaint, she said that 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. The priest was doused with petrol and beaten up.

They also paraded her naked on the streets, she alleged, saying that the incident occurred in the presence of a dozen policemen.

Cuttack Archbishop Raphael Cheenath had recently moved the Supreme Court seeking a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), saying that the nun had lost faith in the state police.

The apex court Wednesday rejected the plea and asked the victim to cooperate with the state’s investigating agency in identifying the accused during the test identification parade.

The crime branch police had served a notice earlier this month to Cheenath requesting him to provide details on the whereabouts of the nun.

“Cheenath could not provide information. Crime branch teams went to Kerala and Delhi to trace the nun but did not find her,” the official said.

“We have arrested nine people and as per legal provisions, a test identification parade is required. Since the nun is not coming forward despite our assurance of full protection, we will request for a date and will publicise that,” he added.

“We will serve notice to the nun and other people, including Father Thomas Chellantharayil. Besides, we will take help of the media to reach out to her,” the official said.

Kandhamal district has seen large-scale communal violence, mostly attacks on Christians and their places of worship, after the Aug 23 killing of VHP leader Swami Laxmanananda and four of his aides Aug 23.

Though Maoist rebels have claimed responsibility for the killings, radical Hindu groups hold Christians responsible for the crime. At least 37 people have died in the violence that has left more than 20,000 people homeless.

Officials Friday said that normalcy is returning to the region as there have been no major incidents of violence over the past three weeks.

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