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Raped Orissa nun surfaces, recounts horror
October 24, 2008 16:11 IST
Last Updated: October 24, 2008 19:26 IST
Two months after a nun was allegedly raped during the communal violence in Orissa, the victim came out in public on Friday for the first time recounting her traumatic experience and demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the incident, charging police of being "friendly" with attackers.
With her face masked, the bespectacled nun in her early 30s accused the Orissa police of failing to protect her from attackers and not being responsive.
Reading out from a four-page hand-written statement at a packed press conference, Sister Meena said she was dragged by a mob of 40-50 people, her clothes ripped apart and was raped on a verandah strewn with glass pieces as two of the attackers stood on her hands.
"They pulled out my saree and one of them stepped on my right hand and another on my left hand and then a third person raped me on the verandah," the nun, who did not take any questions, recounted in a choked voice.
The nun had chosen to maintain a low profile and stayed away from public gaze soon after the incident.
Her account comes two days after the Supreme Court ruled out a CBI inquiry into the August 25 incident and asked her to cooperate with the state police in the investigation.
"The state police failed to stop the crime, failed to protect me from the attackers. They were friendly with the attackers and they tried their best that I did not register an FIR nor make complaints against police which did not take down my statement as I narrated in detail. They abandoned me...," she claimed.
"I was raped and I do not want to be victimised. I want a CBI probe," said the nun.
On August 24 around 4:30 p.m., the nun said she heard a mob shouting at the gate of Divyajyoti Pastoral Centre in Kandhamal so she ran out through the backdoor and escaped to the forest along with others.
"We saw our house going up in flames. Around 8:30 pm we came out and went to the house of a Hindu gentleman who gave us shelter," the nun, who was flanked by Mother Superior of Pastoral Centre Sister Vineeta and her lawyer Wangsum Ravei, said.
The nun said the next day (August 25) around 1:30 pm, the mob armed with lathis, axes, spades, iron rods, crowbars and sickles stormed her room.
"One of them slapped me, caught my hair and pulled me out of the house. Two of them were holding my neck to cut off my head with an axe. Others said that I should be taken out on the road. I saw Father Chellan also being taken out and being beaten," she said.
The mob led them to the burnt down Janavikas Building saying they were going throw them into the smouldering remains, she said.
The nun said when they reached the building, she was taken to the verandah where ashes and broken glass pieces were strewn.
"One of them tore my blouse and others my under-garments. Father Chellan protested and they beat him and pulled him out from there," she said.
After she was sexually assaulted, the nun said, she tried to get up and then another man caught her and took her near the staircase where he attempted to rape her.
"I hid under the staircase. The crowd was shouting where is that sister. Come, let us rape her... They took me out on the road. There I saw Father Chellan kneeling down and the crowd was beating him," she said.
The nun said when they reached the market place, about a dozen policemen were present.
"I went to them asking them to protect me and sat in the middle of two policemen. But they did not move. Someone from the crowd pulled me from there and wanted to lock us in a nearby temple," she said.
The nun and the priest were then taken to the police outpost in Nuagaon. The policemen there were talking in a "very friendly" manner with the attackers, she said.
Despite attempts by Orissa government, the nun had remained untraceable and was believed to have taken shelter in a church in Delhi [Images].
Eight persons were arrested in connection with the rape case and Orissa police has decided to conduct DNA test on some of the accused.
The Archbishop of Cuttack had in a petition in the Supreme Court sought Rs 3 crore compensation for demolition of churches in the anti-Christian riots in Orissa, while seeking a CBI inquiry into attacks on Christians.
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