Family feud apparently led to gang rape of Indian nun

The gang rape of a 28-year-old nun in India’s Orissa state appears to be the result of a family feud — not an act of Hindu fundamentalists, who were initially blamed.

The victim, who is attending university in Chennai (formerly Madras), the capital of Tamil Nadu state, told police she received a phone call from a woman, who reported that her mother in Orissa was very sick.

On July 5, she took a train to Bamunigam. At the railway station she was met by several cousins and neighbors, who said they would take her to her home.

Instead they carried her to an isolated location, held her for several days, and repeatedly assaulted her. They eventually returned her to the train station on July 11.

The assailants ordered the nun not to tell anyone about what had happened, but on July 13 she filed charges with the police.

A statement from Bishop Thomas Thiruthalil, Bishop of Balasore and president of the Episcopal Conference in Orissa, called on the government to protect Christians from such attacks.

“Violence still strikes Christians in Orissa,” he said. “Very often those responsible are Hindu fundamentalist groups who do not look kindly upon Christians. As a Church we are insisting with the government to ensure the safety and security of Christian faith citizens.”

However, police arrested three Catholic siblings — two brothers and a sister — who are cousins of the victim, and charged them with the rapes.

Church officials said the case results from a long-standing family feud. The father of the three accused was killed last year, apparently by Maoist guerrillas, and his children accused the nun’s family of being involved.

Archbishop John Barwa of Cuttuck-Bhubaneswar archdiocese said the incident was in “no way” linked to religious persecution or the anti-Christian violence that hit the state some five years ago.

Cardinal Oswald Gracias, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, said the fact that the attack was meticulously planned “heightens the gravity of the deplorable and utterly reprehensible crime”.

Sources:

AsiaNews

Vatican News

Patheos

Image: USA-UK Online

News category: World.

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