Orissa asks nun to help identify rapists

October 25th, 2008 - 2:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Oct 25 (IANS) A day after an Orissa nun recounted before media persons in New Delhi the trauma of being raped by a mob, the state government Saturday sought her cooperation in identifying the rapists and promised her security.”We have offered to provide her all security and requested her to cooperate,” Director General of Police Manmohan Praharaj told OTV news channel. The state government said it was ready to conduct an identification parade of the alleged rapists at the place she wants and where she feels safe.

The nun Friday narrated her ordeal at a press conference and said that she does not have faith in Orissa police and wants a federal probe into the crime. The Supreme Court had earlier rejected a plea by Cuttack Archbishop Raphael Cheenath for a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

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

In her written complaint in Kandhamal district on Aug 26, two days after the incident, the nun alleged that a mob of about 40 to 50 armed men attacked a house at K. Nuagaon village where she and a priest, 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 stripped and raped. The priest was doused with petrol and beaten up.

The mob also paraded her almost naked on the streets in the presence of a dozen policemen.

The state government suspended the officer in charge of the police station after the matter was highlighted by the media and ordered the crime branch of the police to probe the incident.

Crime branch officials said they had arrested nine people and asked for a test identification parade, a mandatory legal provision.

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 killing and launched attacks on the community. Christian groups have repatedly said they had nothing to do with Laxmanananda’s murder.

The violence has left at least 37 people dead and thousands of Christian had to flee to the jungles to escape rampaging mobs.

The district administration Saturday said the situation has improved and normalcy is returning to the area.

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