Catholics in Delhi lead a June 30 protest against the rape of a Catholic nun in Chhattisgarh state. (Photo by Ritu Sharma)
India’s National Human Rights Commission has accused police and government officials of mishandling the investigation into the rape of a Catholic nun.
The commission found several deficiencies in the official investigation, including failing to secure the crime scene and failing to examine possible physical evidence that could have helped identify the assailants.
The commission also said that the Chhattisgarh state government failed to offer the victim compensation, legal aid or psychological counseling as required under Indian law. The commission said in an Aug. 20 statement that it was seeking an explanation within six weeks from police and the state government about alleged missteps in the investigation.
The nun, a Salesian, was raped early June 20 by two masked men who broke into her room, drugged her and tied her up.
The incident in Raipur, the capital of Chhattisgarh, spurred a series of protests across the state demanding swift action by police in arresting the culprits. Outrage among the Christian community spread to the nation's capital of Delhi.
However, two months after the incident, police are no closer to an arrest.
Raipur police superintendent Badrinarayan Meena told ucanews.com that police have interrogated “some 200 people” but have not made an arrest.
Meena said he had not seen the commission's statement and declined to respond directly to the allegations.
Father Sebastian Poomattam, vicar general of the Raipur diocese, said the rights group's statement confirms “all that we have been saying about" the poor police investigation.
Father Poomattam told ucanews.com that the Church will continue to press the issue until the victim receives justice. Church leaders plan on meeting with the state’s chief minister to put pressure on the administration for results.
"Our plan of action will depend on the response of the chief minister. But in any case, there will be action from the Church in the coming days," the vicar general said.