Court records statement of nun raped in Kandhamal clashes

November 3rd, 2010 - 10:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Nov 3 (IANS) A court in Orissa Wednesday for the first time recorded the statement of a nun who was allegedly gang-raped during the 2008 Kandhamal communal clashes.

The nun appeared in the court of the district and sessions Judge Bira Kishore Mishra at Cuttack, 26 km from here, and recorded her statement.

“During the course of recording her evidence, she identified five of the nine accused present in the court,” defence lawyer Souri Mohapatra told IANS.

Her statement will be recorded further Nov 8 — the next date of hearing in the case.

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.

The Crime Branch of the state police has arrested 23 people and filed four chargesheets.

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 were forced to flee homes after their houses were attacked by rampaging mobs. The gang-rape of the nun sparked international outcry and drew strong condemnation.

The trial was transferred to Cuttack following a directive by the Orissa 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 that there was a threat to her life.

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