Rape of a Nun: Report from Kolkata;

Isaac Gomes is a regular contributor to SILENT VOICE, from Kolkata;

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Kolkata held a “Unity Rally” at Allen Park, Park Street on Monday 16th March 2015 in the evening to show its solidarity with the 72+ year old nun who was attacked and raped in Ranaghat in the early hours of Saturday 14th March.

However, the purpose of the Rally was highly diluted. Except for the Archbishop’s clear speech (in spite of early promises, the delivery by the Government was nothing concrete), we were not clear why we gathered there. Sunil Lucas’s (President SIGNIS India) speech that the assembly was called not to protest and not to demand anything from the government baffled all. So many including priests and nuns were aghast that he spoke on behalf of the Archdiocese of Calcutta in that tone of abject surrender. They questioned why were the people from all the churches in Calcutta called then? To show solidarity with the perpetrators of the crime?To embrace them into Catholic brotherhood? No wonder Christians are attacked again and again and even raped, nuns not excepted, whether it be the Park Street incident or Ranaghat! For they know Christians in India do not protest, cannot protect themselves and therefore turn the other cheek. While one of the Banners said “Rape is unacceptable, in Delhi, in Kolkata, in Ranaghat”, the speech of Sunil Lucas was a big letdown and stifled the voices of outspoken Kolkatans.

If the criminals are not brought to book, then Christians will always be soft targets and there would be numerous REPEAT of such ghastly acts. Exemplary punishment must be meted out to act as a DETERRENT.  Sadly the organisers DID NOT DEMAND this at the Rally. We sang, played the Guitar and the violin and burnt candles, much to the amusement of future culprits to plan out more assault and possibly rapes! Had it happened to our other minority community, one can imagine what would have happened.

It was also said that the hospitalised nun had forgotten all and forgiven the criminals. This would give Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee an excuse to call off the CID enquiry (now handed over to the CBI). She would say since the affected nun has forgiven the crime, there was no need to pursue the matter. She would give the sister and the Archbishop of Calcutta a big certificate praising Christianity, its power of forgiveness and its conviction in conversion of the heart! In the meantime, more such incidents of arson and rape will continue and we will keep on taking out Unity Rallies, sing songs, burn more candles and pray for conversion of the criminals’ heart! What a quixotic faith!

While there were messages like “Love and brotherhood”, “Let us be promoters of peace” etc. I wrote “Let us be self-reliant – teach our girls and women self-defence”.

One leader wrote: “May her soul rest in peace- Dona Dixon”! The sister was packed to her heavenly abode before her time!! When we pointed out, she told one of her followers to pen through REST IN PEACE.

The report is that the criminals have fled into Bangladesh and it would be very difficult for the government to catch them. We must remember Law and Order is a state subject. The present government has utterly failed in this in spite of having CCTV footage and is trying for alibis like GharWapasi.

What we are not realising is this kind of heinous crime can take place anywhere, in your house, in my house and my neighbour’s house. These are not minority-related per se. Instead of calling Protest Rallies, the Indian Church both at the local  and national levels must seriously deliberate on strategies to beef up our security system and strengthen ourselves, by taking help of retired IPS officers Julio Ribeiro, Harris James and people like him) without blindly depending on the government.

As an immediate measure, we may contact Sister Nirmalini (immaculate), Principal of Carmel Convent School, New Delhi, who received the Best Teacher’s Award in Delhi, on September 5, 2014, the day observed as the national Teachers Day. Much before the sad incident of the Nirbhaya case in Delhi in December 2012 that shook the conscience of the nation, Sr. Nirmalini had introduced in her all girls’ school, “Mission Prahar (attack),” as a self-defense technique course in the school.

If a nun (one in the same profession as the 72+ year old nun of Ranaghat) in Delhi can propagate (evangelize) self-defence and self-esteem among girls, I do not see why Christians of Kolkata or for that matter other parts of India cannot make use of the expertise of the inimitable and indomitable Sister Nirmalini!.

Because of her “Mission Prahar (attack),” Sr. Nirmalini is in great demand to conduct seminars for principals and school teachers, one programme having been conducted for the all-male Jesuit School Principals of North West region.

LET US REMEMBER STRENGTH COMES FROM WITHIN, NOT WITHOUT.I am sure Daniels (Daniel 5:14)MrJulio Ribeiro and MrHarris James won’t disagree.

 

Isaac Gomes

Member – ICPA

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