India: Cardinal vows to challenge court verdict after men accused of raping nun are acquitted09 January 2017 | by Megan Cornwell , Anto Akkara
The cardinal said the verdict was a setback for all those working in the area of women's rights
The Archbishop of Mumbai has expressed outrage at the “half-hearted attitude of the police”, whom he claims failed to collect vital evidence during the investigation of two men who were acquitted last week of the rape of a 48-year-old nun.
Cardinal Oswald Gracias, president of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) described the verdict as “a grave injustice”.
Dinesh Dhurv, 19, and 25-year-old Jitendra Pathak, were alleged to have drugged, tied up and gang-raped the sister of the Salesian Missionaries of Mary Immaculate, at the nuns' medical centre in Chhattisgarh, in June 2015. They were released by a fast-track court on 5 January due to lack of evidence.
Cardinal Gracias said he believed the investigation was wholly compromised by police who failed to protect the crime scene and did not collect crucial DNA samples.
Initially local police were reluctant to take up the case, and opened a formal investigation only after widespread protests and an intervention by the country’s National Human Rights Commission.
"This acquittal once again brings to our attention the problem of violence against women. It is a huge setback for all of us working for the rights and dignity of women, in particular victims of violence", the cardinal told AsiaNews.
"India's Catholic Church will demand justice from a higher court. We will challenge the verdict on appeal," he said.
Photo - Christian protesters at a rally to express solidarity with a nun who was gang-raped at a convent school in March last year.
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