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Court acquits “disobeying” Catholic nun 

By Saramma Emmanuel

Bhopal: A magisterial court in central India has acquitted a Catholic nun who was booked for allegedly disobeying a district collector’s order.

Sister Clara Animoottil told Matters India on March 1 that the case was foisted on her for turning down a bribe demand.

The member of the Sisters of St Joseph of Chembery manages an orphanage for the railway destitute children in Itarsi, a major railway junction in Madhya Pradesh state. She was accused of deliberately disobeying the collector’s order.

The nun’s counsel Sanjay Gupta said Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Arun Shrivastava acquitted her on February 28 after the court found the charge against her was “false and devoid of any merit.”

He said there was no order from the district magistrate. “Therefore, no case was made out and thus, she was acquitted,” Gupta told Matters India March 1.

The case was registered against her in August 2015.

Sr Clara with her children

The charge, if proved, would have sent the nun to jail for six months. “The truth has, at last, triumphed over falsehood,” the 53-year-old nun said. “I knew truth was in my side and I will win the battle,” she added.

According to her, the case started after the state government sanctioned 1.1 million rupees for her NGO, Jeevodaya (dawn of life) in 2014.

The NGO, started in 1999, is engaged in the rescue and rehabilitation of children found on railway platforms. The NGO helps the children join formal education or skills training to become self-reliant. Currently, 35 boys and 30 girls study in her center in the outskirts of Itarsi railway station. She accommodates boys and girls in separate houses.

Some members of the district child welfare committee and other officials asked her to pay 20 percent for releasing the government grant.

She refused and asked them to submit proper bill if they wanted money. This annoyed the officials who waited for an opportunity “to trap me,” the nun alleged.

In July 2015, more than 20 men came with the child welfare committee members to the female hostel around 8 pm and demanded physical photo verification of all students.

Although laws bar men’s entry into female hostel after sunset, the intruders continued their search until 10 ignoring our objection,” the nun recalled.

Later, the men lodged a case against the nun accusing her of deliberately disobeying the district magistrate’s order. They cited the case of a six-year-old girl, who left the hostel with her parents in 2013.

The hostel had taken the girl after her father abandoned her and her mother. The mother had no earning. However, her husband returned and the couple took back their daughter.

Sister Animoottil says she was ignorant of the case until her passport renewal application was rejected terming her as a person with criminal background.

“I was also accused of hushing up my criminal background,” she said. “Even today my passport is not renewed,” she added.

The nun said she harbors no grouse against those who made her life miserable.

She has no plan to start legal proceedings against her accusers. According to her, such an action is against Christian spirit. “Jesus has taught me to forgive those troubled me and thus, I have no complaint against them,” she added.

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21 Responses to Court acquits “disobeying” Catholic nun

  1. Jan Husung CSJ

    Thanks to Sr. Justine for sharing the story with the Global Family of St. Joseph. Congrats and thanks to Sr. Clara for your faithfulness to the mission of Jesus to share God’s love for the Dear Neighbor in need. Proud of you my CSJ sister. May God continue blessings to you and your ministry.
    In prayer, Jan, CSJ of Carondelet in Los Angeles

     
  2. saleth mary

    We are proud of you sister. Keep up the spirit of standing for truth. We are with you in your struggle . Truth always wins.May God continue to give the courage to stand justice and truth.

    Saleth

     
  3. Dr.Tom Jose

    Congrats dear Sister… You did it.

    God bless… We are with you.

    Dr.Tom Jose

     
  4. Fr rocky fernandes

    Brave sister….very prudent and matured….congratulations.

     
  5. Akhil Thomas

    The iron lady of our times ….. Hats off to you dear sister

     
  6. Archana

    Kudos Sr Clara for standing strong for truth and justice. You have made the CSJ flag fly so high. May Jesus be with you always with His strength and courage to continue this mission of love.
    Sr. Archana Csj.

     
  7. Leelamma Jacob Hm

    Dear Sr. Clara,
    Congratulations dear Sister! “The truth was in your side and you won the battle” . I join you in praising the thanking our triumphant God for persevering in your battle for justice. May your enthusiasm and spirit increase in you everyday in helping and guiding the abandoned ones.
    Lovingly,
    Leelamma HM

     
  8. Islary

    I agree it is Christian value to forgive, but I also feel it is Christian teaching to promote ‘justice’. I think legal steps seems necessary.

     
  9. Sr. Clara

    Dear Sr. Linda Pepe, CSJ, Fr. Thomas Animoottil, John, Fr Lukose Cheruvalel, Paul Dominic, Diana ,K.O.Mathai, Prof. J. George, Linda ,Joeyanna, Sr.Carol, Justine Gitanjali Senapti, csj ,
    Thanks for your appreciation, encouragement , support, Prayer and best wishes.I know I am not alone you are with me. Your comments reaffirmed my stand as a religious and as a catholic human person.

    Sr. Clara. CSJ

     
  10. Sister Linda Pepe, CSJ

    Clara,
    I could not be prouder of you as a Sister of St. Joseph of Chambéry. Your honesty and integrity stand as an example for all of us. I am sorry you had to endure this court ordeal for so long, but, as always – the truth will set you free!
    Congratulations, Clara! You have once again shown that with the TRUTH, David can slew the giant Goliath. Good for you, my friend!

    Sister Linda Pepe, CSJ
    U.S. Province – Sisters of St. Joseph of Chambéry

     
  11. Thomas Animoottil

    Sr Clara, congratulations to your victory over crime and bribes. You follow Christ as your master. He will protect you. My prayers are with you. Courageously move forward and continue to fight against evil powers. I am proud of you my cousin sister.

     
  12. John

    Dear sr Clara. Congratulations. It is so sad that you suffered at the hands of unscrupulous corrupt officials. But truth has prevailed. You are reflecting the spirit of resurrection. God bless u good work among the unfortunate children sister who r fortunate to have u as their mentor. God bless u

     
  13. Fr Lukose Cheruvalel

    Dear Sr. Clara,
    I express my happiness to know that the Magistrate Srivastava gave his order in your favour in a case that was totally unjust. Long Live Jeevodaya. Your success will ultimately benefit the children in need of care and protection. I was Chairperson of the Child Welfare Committee in a district in Assam for the last 6 years, and I was shocked to hear about what some members of CWC of Bhopal did to you and to the children of your Home in such an un-childfriendly manner. Instead of supporting you to do the job well, they made it difficult for you. The ordeal is over. I am sure you will work even harder for the deprived Children. We are with you.

     
  14. Paul Dominic

    How wonderful of Sister Clara to be doing much good for the children. How disgusting to see crooks and criminals in the office wanting the money of the poor. If now at least one of them could make a small donation to the NGO, regretting his desire for poor children’s money!

     
  15. Diana

    May God bless HIS most obedient daughter, Sr.Clara.

     
  16. K.O.Mathai

    Dear Sr.Clara,
    Congratulations best wishes to you for getting cleared of false allegations of corruption charges. Appreciate your endurance and forgiving attitude towards these corrupt officials, no fitting name other than first degree Criminals for a greater cause of these abandoned children who otherwise will be pushed and traded into various inhuman and immoral activities.You through your congregation is doing a wonderful work and giving life to these unfortunate children. I pray that the Lord bless you with more strength and courage to reach out as many unfortunate children as possible who are in need of love, care and protection in life. Khudos to your congregation that put trust in you and stood by you during these trials and difficult situation. God bless you.

     
  17. Prof. J. George

    My prayers are with Sr. Clara for successfully bearing the cross of falsehood knowing fully well that it will not sustain. Congratulations for upholding the Christ spirit. This news could not have any other opportune time. The lent season is an opportunity to pray for these revengeful people. Sr Clara has certainly acquired the positive Karma and is very mindful that these positiveness multiply.

    However, It will be interesting to see if the District Collector takes any positive actions such that these positive ecology multiplies in his governance mode. Since the case was filed in 2015, a long period of negative energies became the operating protocol of governance.
    May God Bless S. Clara to continue with her positive role in the island of negative Karmas.

     
  18. Linda

    Dear sr.Clara, I am very proud of YOU for standing for truth &justice as a true daughter of st. Joseph for the right cause. I am with you . Love,sr.linda .

     
  19. Joeyanna

    Kudos to Sr Clara, for her undaunted Christian spirit.
    For three years she has suffered under the corruption of the civil servants who instead of helping her have been trying to line their own pockets.

    Her courageous and strong stand against bribery are an example to many institutions today who are accepting bribes in the name of GIFTs and even propagating it as a style to keep the peace and still allowing the agenda of the dominant groups to be fulfilled. One such institution leader said, if it is a gift, how can you refuse.”

    The icing on the cake is your attitude of forgiveness, which is the true and Christlike spirit of maintaining peace.
    May God bless you dear Sr Clara, and may many more women religoius and priests follow your example of credibility to the true Catholic spirit.

     
  20. Sr.Carol

    Congratulations to you Sr.Clara for standing for truth & Justice ! I am proud of you and all those who stand with those in the periphery of the society and work for their welfare & empowerment.

     
  21. Justine Gitanjali Senapti, csj

    Dear Sr. Clara,
    I am really proud of you for your Prophetic role and standing for these marginalized and holes children and for their cause in the midst of false accusations. Thanks for continuing to serve our Dear Naighbour at the cost of your life and dignity.
    The Global Family of St. Joseph is proud of you for your great contribution to the marginalized community in MP, INDIA. CONGRATULATIONS!
    In fact I suppose to visit you last year and the center with Sr. Lorraine Marie but couldn’t due to shortage of time.
    I am with you in sprit.
    love,
    Justine

     
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