By BosNewsLife Asia Service
BHUBANESWAR, INDIA (BosNewsLife)– An Indian nun who was raped during India’s worst anti-Christian violence in recent memory will testify about her ordeal in another court after complaining about intimidation, BosNewsLife established Thursday April 8.
The High Court in India’s eastern state of Orissa agreed to transfer the case away from the state’s violence-hit Kandhamal district, the center of 2008 anti-Christian riots that killed over 100 people.
In a statement published by the Union of Catholic Asian News (UCAN), her lawyer Lansingh Lu Rongmei described the referral as “a victory not only for the nun,” but also for “every victim” of the violence.
“The very fact the court accepts the atmosphere is not conducive in Kandhamal for a free and fair trial opens the doors of justice for others who have so far been denied justice,” she said.
The nun’s petition explained to the Orissa High Court that during trials in other cases, witnesses “had not cooperated” because of intimidation from Hindu extremists. This allegedly led to a “high rate of acquittals” and the nun explained she feared a similar outcome in her case.
NUN NOT IDENTIFIED
The nun, who has not been identified, reportedly also said her life is in “grave danger.” On two earlier occasions, the High Court allowed her to attend police line-ups outside Kandhamal to identify her attackers, UCAN reported.
Orissa police have detained 9 people for allegedly attacking the nun on August 25, 2008, as well as raping and parading her half-naked through the streets, according to Catholic representatives.
Christian leaders have welcomed the transfer of the case. John Dayal, a lay Catholic leader, said he particularly welcomed the court order to re-examine witnesses who refused to cooperate.
Dayal wants the High Court decision to serve as a precedent to counter the intimidation of witnesses in the fast track courts or as a catalyst for the transfer of all the cases to Cuttack, UCAN said.
Father Dibakar Parichha, spokesperson of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar archdiocese, said he also wants to see all the cases moved from Kandhamal to help the victims get justice.
The Orissa clashes in 2008 followed the murder of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati, the leader of the nationalist grouping Vishwa Hindu Parishad, or ‘World Hindu Council’, and four of his aids.
Maoist rebels reportedly claimed responsibility for the killing, but Hindus blamed Christians.