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Government blamed for stalled nun rape trial

By Ajay Kumar Singh, Bhubaneswar

hurch leaders and activists have blamed the Orissa government for the abrupt end to the trial of the nun’s rape case.

Public prosecutors handling the case boycotted work on Dec. 7 saying the government has not paid them their fees. The next day they told the court that they would not resume work unless their grievances were addressed.

“We have received fees for only two months and another three months are pending,” Sangram Sahu, one of three public prosecutors, told on Dec. 8.

The trial was underway in the district session court in Cuttack, the eastern Indian state’s legal capital.

Sahu said they agreed to take up the “sensational case” although government had promised to pay only half the amount they had requested. “The government has not honored even that agreed amount,” he added.

“When we told the court about our grievances, the judge asked us to give them in writing that he would forward to the government,” Sahu said.

Robin Sahu (no relation), a lawyer assisting the case, says the boycott reflected the government’s “callousness” towards the victims of the 2008 anti-Christian violence when the nun was raped in Kandhamal district.

“If the government does not have the money, it should inform us. Its indifference is really doing injustice to the victims,” Robin told

Archbishop Raphael Cheenath of Bhubaneswar, who heads the Catholic Church in the state, says the halt in the trial has exposed the government’s lack of concern for the victims.

“If this is the fate of such a high profile case, what would be the plight of thousands of victims?” the Divine Word prelate asked. He told the Church would go to the Supreme Court if the government fails to address the issue soon.

Lalita Missal, gender activist, says the delay shows “something is amiss” in the way the government handles the 2008 cases.

St. Joseph’s of Annecy Sister Justine Senapati, another activist, termed the latest development in the nun’s case as “unfortunate and really shame.”

Dibakar Parichha, a lawyer working among the victims, says the criminal delivery system in Kandhamal is in chaos. “Justice delayed is justice denied,” he added.

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