A local court in Chhattisgarh on Tuesday acquitted two men accused of raping a 48-year-old Christian nun in Raipur in June 2015, citing lack of evidence produced by the police.
The incident had sparked protests across the state and Raipur Police started an investigation in the case only after the National Human Right Commission (NHRC) intervened.
The court acquitted the accused - Dinesh Dhurv (19) and Jitendra Pathak (25) - saying “the case was very sensitive but the investigation was not up to the standard”.
The nun was allegedly gang raped at a nursing centre run by missionaries in Pandari area of Raipur. As per the complainant, she was sleeping when two masked men barged into the centre and tied her hands and feet before gang raping her. Her colleagues found her tied to the bed the next day and rushed her to the nearby hospital.
Chhattisgarh Nagrik Samyukt Sangarsh Samiti (CNSSS), the organisation that raised the issue, said it is shocked and found the court’s verdict and the inability of the police to investigate the case properly unfortunate.
“The role of police is under the scanner, which is reflected in the judgment. We will move to the upper court,” CNSSS’ convener Goldy George said.
“We had come out on the streets after the incident. Schools were shut down. In Ambikapur and Jashpur nearly 40 thousand people marched. It was perhaps the lone case in Chhattisgarh, or even in central India, where for nearly four months the streets were jammed almost every other day,” he added.
“Then we approached the NHRC and they instantly sent an investigation team. In three week, the investigation team came out with a report.”
The NHRC found that the police destroyed the evidence and suggested that they were protecting the culprits. They summoned the CS, director general of police, and Raipur superintendent of police and asked them to file a report in two weeks.
“The police didn’t know what to do and in this case and hence picked up two young men,” George added.
In March 2015, a 74-year old nun was raped by six men at a local convent school in Ranaghar, West Bengal after they entered the premises to rob the building.
Investigators had claimed that the elderly nun was picked out by the rapists, as they asked specifically for the “senior most” nun among the three nuns, who were present at the school.