A Roman Catholic nun allegedly raped by a Hindu mob said she would not cooperate with local police on Friday because they stood by idly while she was being attacked.
Hiding her head and face behind a scarf, the nun provided reporters with the details of her ordeal, which began after a mob allegedly attacked a Christian prayer hall in the eastern state of Orissa.
The nun, in her first public comments since the Aug. 25 assault, said she was captured by a group of about 50 men who tore off her clothes and raped her.
She said she was later paraded naked, together with a priest, past several policeman who refused to help her.
When she did eventually find refuge in a police station the officers tried to dissuade her from filing a complaint, she said.
“I was raped and now I don’t want to be victimized by Orissa police,” she said, justifying her refusal to return to the state to cooperate with the investigation.
Instead, she called for a federal investigation.
Orissa police have been harshly criticized for waiting more than a month to begin investigating and only taking steps after the story appeared in the media.
Police said they had been waiting for a medical report confirming a likely rape in order to begin investigating.
The have since detained five men, though it remains unclear if they have been charged with anything.
The alleged attack came after clashes broke out between Hindus and Christians in Orissa’s Kandhamal district following the killing of a Hindu religious leader.
Police blamed Maoist rebels, but conservative Hindu groups blamed Christian residents and set fire to a Christian orphanage.
The state government said 32 people died in the ensuing violence. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India said at least 40 Christians were killed.
Relations are usually peaceful between Christians, who make up 2.5 percent of India’s 1.1 billion people, and Hindus, who account for more than 80 percent.
However, Orissa has a history of anti-Christian violence with hardline Hindu groups claiming Christian missionary groups are forcing or bribing people to convert to Christianity, charges denied by Christian leaders.
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