Bhubaneswar, Oct 21 (IANS) Further vitiating the already surcharged atmosphere in Orissa's Kandhamal district, hundreds of women of the Rashtra Sevika Samiti - an outfit affiliated to the Sangh Parivar - Tuesday demonstrated here demanding the arrest of a nun who was raped during the violence that erupted in the area in August.
'The allegations made by the nun appear to be baseless because she is not coming forward to identify the people already arrested,' the organisation's zonal organising secretaty Suchitra Mohapatra told IANS.
'If she was raped she should come forward and identify the culprits. The state government has already announced to extend all security and help,' she added.
The Global Council of Indian Christians was quick to react.
'Nobody has any right to say the nun has filed a false case,' Asit Kumar Mohanty, the regional coordinator of the council, said.
'The Crime Branch (of the Orissa Police), which is probing into the incident, has not said that she has filed a false case,' Mohanty pointed out.
The nun has said she is open to investigation if the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is allowed to conduct the probe because she has lost faith in the Orissa police.
The nun, whose name has not been disclosed, has filed a written complaint that a mob of about 40 to 50 armed men attacked a house in Nuagaon village where she along with a priest, Thomas Chellantharayil, had taken shelter after their centre was attacked.
The mob dragged her and the priest and took them to the deserted office of an NGO where she was allegedly stripped and raped. The priest was doused with petrol and beaten up, the nun said in her complaint.
They also paraded her naked on the streets, she alleged, saying that the incident occurred in the presence of a dozen policemen.
Cuttack Archbishop Raphel Cheenath has moved the Supreme Court seeking a CBI probe on the ground that the nun had lost faith in the state police.
The state government, in an affidavit submitted to the apex court Monday, rejected the plea and said the state Crime Branch, which is probing the case, had made substantial progress.
'Eight accused persons have been arrested on the basis of available evidence,' the affidavit said, adding: 'The chief minister of Orissa has categorically condemned the heinous crime and has appealed to the victim to cooperate in further investigations.
'The investigation of the case by the Crime Branch of the state is continuing very diligently and the mater is being monitored at the highest level,' the state government maintained.
Communal violence had erupted in the state after the killing of a Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader and four of his aides Aug 23, claiming the lives of at least 36 people in Kandhamal and leaving more than 20,000 homeless.
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sudheeshNovember 6, 2008 at 12:00 AM