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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3 Comments

  1. March 23, 2015 at 5:01 pm

    We as a community soft pedal. Like Issac Gomes said, singing and worship is one thing and is important. God said he will help those that help themselves. We need to take issues to the streets, of course we do not propagate violence..
    Should we take a soft approach we will be the target in future again and again.

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  2. March 24, 2015 at 7:47 am

    The whole election ” TAMASHA ” — where all Indians were bluffed in to voting for the EMPEROR of India — was so shrewdly planned — with so much money from those who were ” promised ” SO MUCH — and slowly but surely the laws and rules are being tweaked — to repay those who GAVE & GAVE & GAVE !!!! — The ” masters & mentors ” of the EMPEROR are now having hey days — persecuting minority religions —
    They HAD to stay quiet for so many years — so now are unleashing all their PENT UP FURY — ALL he can offer is some wishy washy comments
    The rape and ravaging of an elderly GOOD nun who has devoted her life to the service of humanity is the absolute limit of depravity —
    ONLY prayers and rallys are making NO DIFFERENCE
    One wonders which GOD he worships — perhaps the god of EGO and VANITY !!!!!!

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  3. dmelloalex said,

    March 24, 2015 at 6:00 pm

    We have not learnt any lessons even after widespread attacks on our institutions during the time of previous BJP govt in 1998-99. Our properties are still vulnerable for attacks without any proper fence, no safety doors, no CCTV’s, no security, no proper payment to the staff etc. Is there is any dearth of finance? There are several instances of burglaries as lacs of rupees are stored in office/residence cupboards which are opened in front of outsiders. Such things invite not only burglaries but even will take someone’s precious life.

    The second question is how long we will be confined to the Church compounds with only prayer, parties and meetings? In every parish there are alleast 10-15 organisations but holding only meetings and going home?

    We have lost an opportunity to educate our people about various activities of RSS parivar which is spreading hatred against minorities for the last 90 years. The pattern is similar everywhere. spread rumours of conversion, divide people religion wise and attack. This cannot be stopped by fire fighting. It needs a strategy, one has to take a stand and face unitedly.

    We also need to forge unity with Muslims and Dalits. If we think Muslims are unclean, uneducated, terrorists it will not lead us anywhere. First we need to shed our our opinion about Muslims by changing our mindset and mingle with other communities for the survival of all. As Muslims are the largest minority, they can form a formidable resistance against the attacks.

    The present pattern will continue as long as BJP remains in power. certain attacks may not be attributed to BJP parivar but a lot of anti-social elements too will take advantage of this fragile situation. If we want to save life & property, it’s time for all of us to wake up and understand what is happening around. I pray that good sense will prevail.

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