Court convicts three persons in 2008 Kandhamal nun gang rape case

Court convicts three persons in 2008 Kandhamal nun gang rape caseThree persons were convicted by the District Court in Cuttack of Odisha state in connection with the case of the gang rape of Catholic nun in Kandhamal district during the brutal anti-Christian violence in and after August 2008. While six others were acquitted by the court. Prime accused has been sentenced to 11 years imprisonment and the remaining two criminals have been sentenced to 2 years imprisonment.

Sr. Meena Barwa

The nun Sr. Meena Barwa was allegedly gang raped on August 25, 2008 at Baliguda in Kandhamal District of Odisha, two days after the communal riots broke out in the district following the killing of VHP leader Swami Laxmananda Saraswati and four of his supporters. Ten people were accused in the case, nine were arrested and one is still absconding. Eight of the nine people arrested were out on bail while Mitu Patnaik is still lodged in Choudwar jail.
The case had been transferred to the district and sessions judge court, Cuttack, in 2010 on directions of the Odisha High Court after the alleged survivor had expressed apprehensions over fair trial and threat to her life if it was held in Kandhamal. A total of 29 witnesses from the prosecution side were cross examined in the court.
On Friday, Cuttack District Judge Gyana Ranjan Purohit found Santosh Patnaik guilty of rape and Gajendra Digal and Saroj Badhei guilty of molestation. Patnaik was sentenced to 11 years in prison, while Gajendra Digal and Saroj Badhei were each sent to prison for 26 months. Six of the other accused were acquitted by the court in Orissa because of lack of evidence.
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