Key accused of nun's rape in Orissa arrested

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Bhubaneshwar, Oct 8: Santosh Pradhan, the key accused in the gang-rape of the nun in Kandhamal district of Orissa has been arrested on Wednesday, Oct 8. The Communial clashes that broke out from Aug 23 have left at least 35 dead and thousands homeless, police said. Santosh Pradhan was arrested from Baliguda town on Tuesday, Oct 7 and produced before a local court, a police officer said.

Police had earlier arrested four men - Juria Pradhan, Kartik Pradhan, Biren Kumar Sahu and Tapas Kumar Patnaik - for their alleged roles in the crime, he said. The nun had filed the complaint on Aug 26 - three days after a Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader was killed triggering the communal violence that crept in.

The medical examination report that confirmed about the nun's rape was collected only last week after the media reported about Sister Nirmala, superior general of Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity, wrote to the state authorities seeking justice for the nun. The state government suspended the inspector in charge of the Baliguda police station, where the nun had filed her complaint.

According to the nun's written complaint, a mob of about 40 to 50 armed men attacked a house at K Nuagaon village where she along with a priest, Father 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 by one from the mob. The priest was doused with petrol and beaten up. They also paraded her naked on the streets, she alleged, saying that the incident occurred in the presence of a dozen policemen. The state government has sent a police team to New Delhi, where the nun has taken shelter, officials said. The state government has assured all help and protection to the nun and said she needs to come to Orissa and identify the culprits.


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