The acquittal of the alleged rapists of a nun in Chhattisgarh "is a grave injustice, not only for our consecrated, but also for all women who have suffered a similar trauma” denounces Card. Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Mumbai and president of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC).
He was commenting to AsiaNews on the release of the
two criminals accused of having drugged, tied up and abused by a
Catholic religious Raipur "for lack of evidence".
Church - adds the prelate - will demand justice from a higher court. We
will challenge the verdict on appeal".
According to Card. Gracias, "this acquittal once again brings to our
attention the problem of violence against women. It is a huge setback
for all of us working for the rights and dignity of women, in particular
victims of violence ".
On January 5, a court of Chhattisgarh released the 19 year old Dinesh
Dhurv and 25 year old Jitendra Pathak because of lack of evidence. The
archbishop of Mumbai believes that investigations were compromised
beyond repair by the "halfhearted attitude of the police," who failed to
protect the crime scene and did not collect the traces of the attackers
from the victim's body .
religious, now 48, who belongs to the Salesian Missionaries of Mary
Immaculate (SMMI), courageously told her terrible story.
Two masked men broke into her room at the medical center at around 1: 30
When she asked them if they wanted money, they replied: "We want
At that point one of them blocked her, while the other
forced her to ingest the drugs and gagged her with a rag. Then the
attackers tied her to the bed with her sari and used a scarf to tie her
hands, before taking turns to rape her.
The nun, originally from Kerala, was alone at the time of the attack.
She was found the next day in an unconscious state by her superior,
worried about not having received any reply to her calls.
The state representatives of Congress and the Chhattisgarh Christian
Forum have called the incident a "systematic attack against minorities
in the State".
For its part, the Indian Bishops' Conference (CBCI) has
reported that such incidents raise serious questions about the safety
and protection of minorities in India.
Since the beginning, the Christian leaders have complained about serious shortcomings in the conduct of investigations by the investigators,
who had not collected blood, urine and other fluid samples to determine
the hallucinogenic substance used to dope the missionary.
"Their acquittal - concludes the cardinal - will bring serious social
consequences and could create problems of public order. The worrying
fact is that low conviction rates inflict damage and represent a danger
for the victims and for society as a whole."