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Orissa police to question rape victim in Delhi
Published on 18 Nov. 2008 12:20 AM IST
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A crime branch team of the Orissa police is likely to head to New Delhi soon to question the nun who was raped during the communal violence in Kandhamal district in August, officials said Monday. “A team of five or six police officers may go to Delhi Monday or Tuesday to question her,” a senior crime branch told IANS. The crime branch, which is investigating the crime, has already arrested 10 people in this connection, but officials say the probe is not progressing because of the non-cooperation of the nun. “She needs to identify the culprits as a part of the legal process," the official said. He, however, refused to reveal if the test identification parade would be conducted in New Delhi, where the nun is believed to be residing. The nun, in her written complaint Aug 26, two days after the incident, alleged that a mob of about 40 to 50 armed men attacked a house at K. Nuagaon village where she along with a priest, Thomas Chellantharayil, had taken shelter after their centre was attacked. The mob dragged her and the priest and took them to a deserted office of an NGO where she was raped. They also paraded her naked on the streets, she said, adding that the incident occurred in the presence of several policemen. The nun had narrated her ordeal at a press conference in New Delhi last month and said that she did not have faith in the Orissa police and wanted a federal probe into the crime. Raphael Cheenath, the Archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, had filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe. The Supreme Court had last month rejected the plea. Cheenath, earlier this month, said the nun would cooperate with the state police if the identification parade was conducted outside Orissa. But a court in Kandhamal Nov 10 directed the nun to appear and identify the culprits Nov 19 at Baliguda. Kandhamal district witnessed large-scale communal violence, mostly attacks on Christians and their places of worship, after the Aug 23 killing of Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Swami Laxmanananda and four of his aides. Though Maoist rebels claimed responsibility for the killings, some Hindus held Christians responsible for the crime, despite repeated denials by Christian organisations. The communal violence that ensued claimed at least 38 lives and thousands of Christians had to flee to the jungles to escape rampaging mobs. While some have returned to their homes, more than 10,000 are still living in government-run relief camps in Kandhamal.

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