Indian cardinal demands ‘swift justice’ in nun rape case

2015-03-18 16:57
Nuns in Kolkatta, India.

Nuns in Kolkatta, India. (Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Kolkata - The head of the Catholic church in India demanded swift justice Wednesday for an elderly nun who was raped during a robbery at a convent, amid growing anger at the lack of arrests over the attack.

While police have taken several people in for questioning, no one has been formally arrested over the incident in West Bengal on Friday, which has again highlighted the frightening levels of sexual violence in India.

After visiting the victim in hospital as well as the convent where she was attacked, Cardinal Baselios Cleemis voiced frustration at the lack of progress in the investigation.

"I would like to request the authorities to ensure justice is done," said Cleemis, president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India.

"The sisters have forgiven but justice [should] be made visible and such acts should not happen again," he told reporters in the town of Ranaghat.

"I understand that the process has begun... but I'd like to request the chief minister [Mamata Banerjee] to adopt a faster approach and ensure justice is meted out at the earliest."

The nun, who is in her 70s, was attacked around midnight when a gang of robbers broke into the convent near Ranaghat and ransacked the premises.

Although police have launched a gang-rape inquiry, officers say only one person sexually assaulted the nun, who needed surgery after the attack but is expected to be shortly released from hospital.

CCTV footage, frustration

Detectives have released CCTV footage showing the faces of several members of the gang, fuelling frustration that charges have not been forthcoming.

Protests were held in West Bengal and also in the capital New Delhi on Tuesday. Banerjee, who is the state's top official, was confronted by hundreds of protesters late on Monday when she visited the victim.

Deputy police superintendent Ajoy Prasad told AFP on Wednesday the nun had recorded her statement, and also confirmed that a hunt for multiple offenders was still under way.

"According to our preliminary investigation there were about eight people who broke into the convent," he told AFP.

Derek O'Brien, a lawmaker and one of Banerjee's senior lieutenants, said everything possible was being done to arrest the perpetrators.

"We are in close touch with the nuns, all the church authorities and a CID [top crime investigation agency] probe was ordered five days back," he told NDTV. "We are doing all it takes to arrest those people."

The incident adds to a grim record of sexual assaults in India, which this month banned a documentary about a December 2012 gang-rape that sparked domestic and international outrage.

It is also the latest in a string of attacks on churches or Catholic schools, and came despite a pledge by the Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure the safety of religious minorities.

Read more on:    india  |  sexual abuse  |  gender equality

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.