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इंडियन आवाज़     21 May 2024 09:26:55      انڈین آواز

Raped nun’s ‘media trial’ disgusts rights workers

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BHUBNESHWAR/ NEW DELHI: Rights activists in Orissa say they are disgusted by the “media trial” of a Catholic nun, who was raped during anti-Christian violence in 2008.

“We are sad at the process which leads to negative public perception of the woman and her plight,” says Pramila Swain, president of the National Alliance of Women (NAWO) Orissa Chapter.

For the past week, defense lawyers have cross-examined the nun in closed court away from the glare of the media.

But that has not stopped a series of inconsistent, selective and biased reporting, activists say. They have called for a review of the trial process.

“How do the media print what the defense counsel feeds them, while refusing to print the real story?” said Sister Justine Senapati of the Sisters of St. Joseph Annecy, a human right activist, too said the rape victim is forced to relive her “traumatic and horrible” experience.

Lalita Missal, facilitator of the NAWO Orissa chapter, wants the Church and others to protest.

“As a woman, she deserves honor. Much more as she is a nun, who has offered her life to God and the community,” the woman activist asserted. She warned that silence on the “trial by media” threatens the dignity and honor of more Religious women.

Saila Behera, another woman activist, says that the media is projecting the nun as a criminal. “Something is rotten in this situation. It is quite disappointing,” she added.

The raped nun has completed the ninth phase of her cross examination in the court of District and Sessions Judge in Cuttack. The examination would go for a few more days.

Dhirendra Panda, who coordinated the National People’s Tribunal on Kandhamal in Delhi in August, says the trial has become farce. “It is violence against her basic human rights. The civil and human right activists should get into an immediate soul-searching on it.”

Dibakar Parichha, a lawyer assisting the nun, says her case is getting stronger as the hearing progresses. He told ucanews.com the nun responded “quite well” even when the defense lawyer asked her embarrassing questions.

“There is no conflict in the nun’s statement as reported in certain sections of media,” he added. UCAN

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