India: after rape of elderly nun, faithful march to demand justice

2015-03-14 Vatican Radio

A 72-year-old Catholic nun was allegedly gang-raped by around eight dacoits at a school-cum-convent in Eastern India’s State of West Bengal, late Friday night. The nun is undergoing surgery; her condition is said to be critical.

According to authorities of the Convent of Jesus and Mary, at Ranagath, the accused broke into the convent after 1 am and allegedly raped the ailing nun. After tying, 3 of the 5 Sisters, they entered the Principal's room and ransacked it, destroying property and taking money, a laptop and a mobile phone," Fr. Dominic Gomes, Vicar General of Kolkata Archdiocese, said in a statement.

After overpowering the security guard, the criminals had found a box with money. The convent's 72-year-old superior had reportedly tried to stop the robbery, but was attacked and raped. The thieves also beat up three other elderly sisters. All the victims are currently in hospital.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has ordered a probe by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) into the incident. "We strongly condemn the incident that took place at the Ranaghat Convent... CID will be examining all aspects to this horrific crime. Swift, strongest action to be taken," Ms Banerjee said in a series of tweets.

Local government and police officials confirmed the attack. "It was a rape against humanity. We stand by the Sisters and we will give them every possible help," the Minister for Urban Development said.

"We will identify the culprits who must be punished. Things like this never happened before in the State," said Mgr Thomas D'Souza, archbishop of Kolkata.

Not long after the incident, students and parents took to the streets in protest. Angry school students blocked trains on the Sealdah-Ranaghat route and National Highway 34 in protest against the incident. Other residents joined them. Together, they blocked roads and highways calling on the government to provide swift justice for the violated nuns. For their part, the authorities described the attack as a "heinous crime" caused by "a desire to destabilise the state".

(Sources: NDTV, AsiaNews)

(from Vatican Radio)