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Kerala Church in shock at nun’s killing

Syro-Malabar head praises Sister Valsa John, calls for justice after attack reporter, Kochi

November 17, 2011

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Church leaders in Kerala have expressed shock and outrage over the killing yesterday of tribal rights campaigner Sister Valsa John. The 53-year-old nun from the Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary was hacked to death at her home in the remote Pakur district of the east Indian state of Jharkhand. According to reports a mob of around 50 people gathered outside her home in the early hours of yesterday morning (local time) shortly before her death. Earlier reports had said the nun had been shot dead. Major Archbishop and head of the Syro-Malabar Church, George Alencherry, and Curia Bishop Bosco Puthur today visited Sr John’s family in Vazhakala, near Kochi, Kerala’s commercial hub. After offering his condolences the Major Archbishop paid tribute to the slain nun. He said she had “given her life to the poor and fought a long battle to try and safeguard their rights. She had shown the world how to care for the poor and dedicated her life to the Church and her faith.” He also called for those responsible for her death to be brought to justice. Sr. John’s brother, M. J. Baby said he had warned her not to return to Jharkhand when she came home for a holiday at the end of August. “I told her not to go back after she told me about threats she had received,” he said. The family believe the nun was killed by people connected to a mining company she was campaigning against. Offering his praise to the dead nun, Kerala regional Latin Catholic Council president, Archbishop Maria Calist Soosapakiam said: “With her exemplary life and courage to fight evil, Sr John has shown us that we need to rededicate our lives for our faith and work for the poor.” Related links: Mystery over shooting of Catholic nun
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