An Indian bishop has said a 71-year-old nun who was the victim of a gang rape has forgiven her attackers.
Bishop Joseph Gomes of Krishnagar, who visited the nun in hospital on Monday, added: “She told me that ‘justice should be done. This should be never be repeated or happen to anyone else.'”
The attack took place after a group of masked men broke into the Jesus and Mary Congregation convent in Ranaghat, about 45 miles from Kolkata, on Friday night. 10 suspects are currently being detained in connection with incident.
Meanwhile, students at a Hindu-run school for the blind joined a nationwide outcry over the attack.
The 50 students at the Helen Keller School near the convent where the nun lived chanted “Mother we cannot see, but we can feel your pain,” on Tuesday, after news of the incident reached them, Bishop Gomes said.
The show of solidarity by the students was part of a series of demonstrations throughout India calling on authorities to hasten their investigation and charge the 10 suspects.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed “deep concern” over the attack. He promised a crackdown on religious-based violence.
Mamata Bannerj, chief minister of West Bengal, faced angry students, parents and community members when she visited the convent and school complex to express solidarity with the nuns. Protesters detained her vehicle for an hour, according to media reports.
An estimated 6,000 demonstrators gathered in Kolkata on March 16 to raise concerns with the Indian government.
“We are not satisfied because no headway has been made,” Archbishop Thomas D’Souza told the crowd.
“We urge the government to arrest the culprits at the earliest and ascertain the motive of such a heinous crime,” he said.
The archbishop noted that in addition to raping the nun, the perpetrators desecrated the convent chapel, threw consecrated hosts onto the ground and robbed the school office.
Archbishop D’Souza told CNS on March 17 that church officials could know if there was a conspiracy behind the incident “only if the culprits are arrested.”
In a March 15 statement, the Conference of Religious India, which represents 125,000 women and men religious and priests, described the attack as a “horror.”
“What fellow human beings did to a frail, ailing, elderly woman of God makes me feel ashamed as an Indian, and heartbroken as a human being,” said the statement, issued by Salesian Father Joe Mannath, conference national secretary.
“The gang rape of an old religious woman is beyond all normal descriptions of human depravity,” the statement said.
“That others care and have protested against this despicable act shows the concern and revulsion any decent human being would feel at such an act of savagery,” it added.
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