Nun jailed for sex abuse gets bail

Sister Maria said "it was totally false case to target the Church for doing good work”.

Ambikapur (UCAN): A Catholic nun, arrested for alleged sexual abuse of a minor girl, was granted bail but the priest and a maid arrested with her in the same case continue in jail in central Indian Chhattisgarh state.
A trial court granted Samaritan Sister Christ Maria bail on Tuesday but could be released only on Wednesday following delay in serving the bail warrant in the jail, which was 135 kilometers away from the court.
She was arrested and sent to jail on September 11, along with Father Joseph Dhanaswami, principal of Jyoti Mission High School of Ambikapur diocese in Chhattisgarh state. The hostel maid also was arrested following a complaint of the mother of a fourth grade student.
Even though all three moved bail applications separately before the Additional Session Judge Kirthy Lakara, Manendragarh, the judge granted bail only to the nun and rejected others bail application.
Their lawyer Rakesh Sinha told the priest and the maid were booked under stringent provision of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) that deals with unnatural sex.
Unlike them the nun was charged with Sections 19 and 20 of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), for willfully not informing the government authority about the alleged abuse of the child, which has a provision of one year jail term, he noted.
Another lawyer Amarnath Pandy dealing with the case told the case is fabricated to tarnish the image of the Christian mission in the area."
“It is a fabricated case with baseless allegations," he said adding that appeal will be moved in the High Court for bail of the priest and the maid in a day or two.
The bail application of the priest, he said was rejected only on the ground that the investigation in the case was going on which in fact not a ground to deny bail to anyone.
The very fact that the police first slapped the charge of rape on the priest and later withdrew it and booked him for unnatural sex, he said adding that such flip flop is a clear sign of manipulation.
Sister Maria also said "it was totally false case to target the Church for doing good work”.
“As far as I know a skin disease of the girl is blown out of proportion as a case of sexual abuses” she said adding “everything is politically motivated to malign us”.
Ambikapur vicar general Father Antony Bara the case is "the outcome of the hate campaign" of the right wing Hindu activists against the Church for helping the poor.
He also said activists of the Bajrang Dal, a militant Hindu organization and youth wing of the Vishva Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council) protested and pelted stones at the school, destroying a Marian statue as part of their strategy to pressurize the police to frame fake case on the Church people.
Father Bara said the girl was staying in the Church-run hostel and was suffering from a skin disease, including around her private parts. Since she was not feeling comfortable, she sought permission from the hostel warden to go home to stay with her mother.
Medical examinations also have not proved any sexual violence, Church sources said.

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