By Matters India Reporter
Kolkata: A court in Kolkata on November 7 convicted a Bangladeshi national for raping a septuagenarian nun in West Bengal’s Ranaghat town more than two years ago.
Additional Sessions Judge Kumkum Sinha termed the incident as a matter of shame in a state where Sister Nivedita and Mother Teresa had worked for people.
The court will pronounce the quantum of punishment for Nazrul Islam a day later.
The nun was raped on March 14, 2015 at a Convent of Jesus and Mary School in West Bengal’s Nadia district, bordering Bangladesh. According to the prosecution, six people were involved in robbing the convent, some 80 km northeast of Kolkata, the state capital.
Police said the gang looted cash and some other valuables from the school, apart from ransacking the convent chapel and raping the 71-year-old nun, who was the then sister superior of the convent.
The gang locked other nuns in a room and vandalized the convent chapel.
The prosecution charged all the accused with gangrape, robbery and criminal conspiracy among others.
The judge noted the charge of gangrape was not established. Only Nazrul Islam was found guilty of rape.
The court found five, including the rapist, guilty of robbery. A sixth person, Gopal Sarkar, was found guilty of harboring the five criminals at his residence.
All the six were also found guilty of criminal conspiracy for committing robbery at the convent in Ranaghat, a quiet town about 80 north of Kolkata, in Nadia district bordering Bangladesh.
The other four persons found guilty are Milan Kumar Sarkar, Ohidul Islam, Mohd Selim Sheikh and Khaledar Rahman.
Only Gopal Sarkar is Indian and the rest are Bangladeshis. A few cases against them under Foreigners’ Act are pending before another court.
The trial was shifted from a court in Ranaghat to the Kolkata Sessions court in May 2016 by the Calcutta High Court on a petition by three nuns, who were witnesses in the case and the rape victim.
The nuns sought the transfer as they were being identified when they arrive in the court while testifying. They also feared for their safety as the accused allegedly allegedly had links in Ranaghat.
The rape and robbery had evoked nationwide protests.
Maria Fernandes, vice chairperson of the West Bengal Minorities Commission who visited the convent immediately after the incident, said she suspected the assault was motivated by the issue of converting Christians and Muslims into Hinduism.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had faced anger of the locals who blocked her convoy when she visited the area.