Officials condemn gang rape of elderly nun in India

Officials give their reaction to the gang rape of a 72-year-old nun in the Nadia district of West Bengal.

NADIA, WEST BENGAL, INDIA (MARCH 14, 2015) (ANI) – A 72-year-old nun was gang-raped in the Nadia district of India’s eastern West Bengal state on Friday (March 13) night.

According to reports, around a dozen men entered the Convent of Jesus and Mary school and gang-raped the elderly nun when she tried to stop them from looting the school.

The nun has been admitted to hospital and her condition is reported to be critical.

“It is an unfortunate incident. No such incident has ever happened in this district. I have maintained a relationship with the administration of this school since it happened. On behalf of the civic body, we have tried to help the school with its issues. But today’s incident is undoubtedly a shameful incident,” said local legislator Parthasarathi Chatterjee on Saturday (March 14).

Enraged by the attack, students and parents held a protest on the school campus on Saturday and demanded immediate action.

Protesters also blocked traffic and held demonstrations on nearby railway tracks.

“It is a very very shameful act, first of all to rape any woman, any female is a horrible and shameful act. But this one becomes even worse because, first of all, she is an old lady and then on top of it, she is a nun, she is a religious who has consecrated her life to God and all her life she has remained a virgin. And at this age to be treated like this by anybody whoever they may be, it’s absolutely shameful and condemnable and we strongly condemn this,” said Father Dominic of the Delhi Catholic Archdiocese.

He said he was grateful to West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee for ordering an investigation.

Women’s rights activist Jagmati Sangwan accused the state government of “instigating” the rape.

“This is really a worrisome incident that within 16 hours three women have been raped and it is happening in Bengal, which was safest place for women in the sense of crimes against women but now the chief minister and her party leaders they have been instigating rapists against the women and they have been instigating their own party workers to rape the women of other parties. Certainly, the attitude of this CM and their leaders, it has emboldened the rapists and we demand strict action against the rapists,” she said.

Earlier this month, India prohibited the release of the film ‘India’s Daughter’ about the 2012 Delhi gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman.

It also asked the video-sharing website YouTube to remove all links to the documentary.

Police said the ban was imposed because comments in the film by one of the convicted rapists created an atmosphere of “fear and tension” and risked fuelling public anger.

‘India’s Daughter’ features an interview with Mukesh Singh, one of four men sentenced to death for the rape, torture and murder of Jyoti Singh.

In the film, Singh blames the victim for the crime because she resisted the rape and he suggests she would still be alive if she hadn’t fought her attackers off.

Subhashini Ali, a member of the Communist Party of India (CPI), said it is time to stop blaming women for the crimes committed against them.

“The people of ruling party BJP or others say that women wear jeans, they roam around and that’s why such incidents happen. But that nun was 70 year old. Nuns wear clothes covering their head to toes that leave no part of their body uncovered. It means that rape or any other sexual assaults on women are not results of they way they dress or their behaviour. You have to search for the reason somewhere else. Stop putting the blame on women for rape and look at the mentality of the guilty person and find out why he has become so daring,” said Ali.

India toughened its anti-rape laws in response to the outcry following the fatal attack.

But a rape is reported every 21 minutes on average in India, and acid attacks, domestic violence and molestation are common in the country.

There were 309,546 crimes against women reported to police in 2013, up from 244,270 the previous year, according to the National Crime Records Bureau.