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India convicts Bangladeshi national for raping elderly nun

Crime and conviction is a disgrace for Bangladesh, says Bangladeshi bishops conference official

India convicts Bangladeshi national for raping elderly nun

Accused in the rape of a 71-year-old Catholic nun in eastern India being led out of a prison vehicle to be produced before a court in Kolkota Nov. 7. The nun from the Jesus and Mary congregation was raped inside her convent in Ranaghat on March 14, 2015. (Photo by IANS)

ucanews.com reporters, Dhaka and New Delhi
India

November 8, 2017

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Bangladesh ought to apologize to India for the crime of a Bangladeshi man convicted of raping a 71-year-old nun in India two years ago, says a church official. 

The Bangladeshi Catholic bishops' official response came after after a local court in Kolkata, in the neighboring Indian state of West Bengal on Nov. 7 convicted Nazrul Islam of raping the nun at her Convent of Jesus and Mary in Ranaghat on March 14, 2015.

Islam and five others, all from Bangladesh, were also convicted of armed robbery of the convent, about 30 kilometers from the India-Bangladesh border.

"The crime and conviction is disgraceful for Bangladesh," said Theophil Nokrek, secretary of the Bangladesh bishops conference's Justice and Peace Commission. "I think our government should issue a formal statement of apology to India," he told ucanews.com.

"It's good to see justice has been meted out," Nokrek said adding that "sexual perverts" behind the crime should get exemplary punishment.

However, he said that Indian police too were at fault for Islam had entered India without valid documents. "One wonders how a man from one country can enter another country without valid papers," he said.

Four of the six attackers were identified through CCTV footage, according to Indian police. The nuns had complained that a gang of eight people ransacked the convent in the wee hours of March 14 and took away some valuables including cash.  

Police arrested Islam in June 2015 from a railway station in India. The 71-year-old nun from the Jesus and Mary congregation then identified Islam from among 10 people police lined up for her to identify. Although Islam has been convicted of raping the nun, his punishment is yet to be announced. 

Father Saroj Biswas of Ranaghat's our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, told ucanews.com that local people are "happy to see justice is being done."

"We believe that the result of this verdict will help stop a repetition of such crimes," he said adding that local nuns of the convent have made it a policy not to speak to the media on the issue. 

The Ranaghat case made media headlines because an elderly nun was  involved. "But unfortunately there are several such crimes which are committed against weaker sections, but are not brought to the public forum," Father Biswas said.

Latest government records show that in 2015 India registered a daily average of 890 crimes against women, which include sexual harassment, rape and murder. In 2015 the country recorded 34,651 rape cases including those of children and the elderly, according to the latest records of National Crimes Record Bureau.

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