Three convicted in nun rape case, six acquitted

Three convicted in nun rape case, six acquitted

A sessions court in Cuttack convicted three people on Friday for a nun’s gang-rape during communal violence in Kandhamal district in August 2008.

Along with the violence that claimed more than 35 lives and rendered thousands homeless, the gang-rape of the young nun triggered a nationwide uproar. The killing of the Hindu religious leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati by suspected Maoists had ignited the communal riots.

All three have been given prison terms ranging from two to eleven years.
While convicting the three, including the prime accused Santosh Patnaik alias Mitu, the court acquitted six others due to lack of evidence.

As per the court’s order, Mitu, who faced multiple charges including rape, will undergo imprisonment for eleven years and will be penalised Rs 10,000.

Two other convicts in the case – Gajendra Digal and Saroj Bahdei – who were charged with outraging the modesty of a woman and other crimes, were sentenced to two years and two months in jail.

The crime branch of the Odisha Police had investigated incident on the basis of a complaint filed by the nun, which alleged that she was beaten, raped and paraded naked in a village near Baliguda in the backward Kandhamal district on the night of August 25, 2008, during the peak of the anti-Christian violence.

Several people were rounded up by the crime branch during investigation and subsequently nine were charge-sheeted. The trial began in August 2010.
The last hearing of the case was held on March 4. All, except Mitu, were granted bail during the trial.

The Odisha High Court had shifted the trial from Kandhamal to Cuttack at the victim’s request.

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