Orissa opposes plea for CBI probe into nun’s rape

October 20th, 2008 - 8:41 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 20 (IANS) The Orissa government Monday firmly opposed a plea for a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the rape of a nun in the state’s strife-torn Kandhamal district allegedly by some Bajrang Dal activists.In an affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court, the state government said: “The investigation of the case by Crime Branch of the state is continuing very diligently and the mater is being monitored at the highest level.”

The state government also opposed the demand for Rs.30 million as compensation to rebuild the churches demolished in the sectarian violence in the district between December 2007 and January 2008.

“According monetary compensation to any religious institution is against the secular policy of the Government of Orissa,” it said.

Detailing its ongoing probe into the nun’s rape of Aug 25, the state government, in its affidavit submitted to a bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, said: “As regards petitioners’ demands for a CBI probe into the assault and rape of the nun, it is respectfully submitted that the Crime Branch, which is probing the case, has made substantial progress.

“Eight accused persons have been arrested on the basis of available evidence,” said the affidavit adding that “the chief minister of Orissa has categorically condemned the heinous crime and has appealed to the victim to cooperate in further investigation.”

It pointed out that the victim lodged a formal criminal complaint only after consulting her lawyer, delaying the process of the registration of case by a good 24 hours after the crime on 1 p.m. Aug 25.

It said that despite her disinclination to make her statement to the police, when she first approached them on Aug 25 after the crime, the police promptly sent her for medical examination and began the probe.

Refusing to pay any compensation to rebuild the demolished churches during the violence, the government said it was ready to give assistance to damaged public institutions like schools, clinics, hospitals and orphanages.

The state government filed the affidavit in response to a plea by Cuttack Archbishop Raphel Cheenath, who had earlier moved the apex court seeking Christians’ safety in Kandhamal district, ravaged by anti-Christian violence following killings of Hindu spiritual leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and his four associates on Aug 23.

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