A group of around 10 men who stormed a convent in Ranaghat, India on March 13, raping a 72-year-old Catholic nun and getting away with thousands of dollars worth of food meant for children, were Christians, according to a Hindu nationalist leader.
The outrageous claims were made by Surendra Jain, general secretary of the right-wing Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) party, who believes the elderly nun was the victim of the “Christian culture” of s*xual exploitation and that it had nothing to do with Hindu nationalists.
Jain further suggested that police should search the Christian community for the perpetrators, as it was not motivated by religious hatred of Christians, even though they are a minority of India’s 1.2 billion people. Christians, Buddhists and other minorities make up about 5% of the population; Muslims make up around 15% and Hindus 80%.
The nun is recovering in a stable condition, according to hospital officials, but police have yet to make any arrests regarding her rape and the theft of items from the convent school.
According to the Times of India, Jain said “It is a Christian culture to exploit nuns. We don’t do such things.” He added, “The Vatican received 5,000 complaints of s*xual exploitation in five years, prompting the pope to appeal for legalization of gay s*x.”
Another incident of a church being destroyed by a mob happened in Haryana State, and Jain’s organization blamed it on the local priest because he tried to convert local residents. Jain’s group has a membership of around 7 million and is also known as the World Hindu Council.
“There are no Christians living in the village or around it. The church was for the purpose of conversion,” said Jain. He continued, “Local people had warned against it, but when it went unheeded, they took whatever action they deemed fit. Will the Christians allow us to make a Hanuman temple in the Vatican?”
After hearing Jain’s remarks, Rev. Dominic Emmanuel, spokesman for the New Delhi Catholic Archdiocese, said he had no clue of how to respond to Jain’s claims.“How do we even respond to this kind of language? How can one stoop so low?” he added.
The attack came just one week after the expulsion of a boy who was thrown out of the church for posting lewd remarks about a female schoolmate online, and a quarrel between the nuns and the boy’s father, according to the Convent of Jesus and Mary School. The Haryana police said they are looking into claims that the nuns received anonymous death threats several days before the attack, with the possibility that it had something to do with the boy’s expulsion. Although no arrests have yet been made, they said five people were detained over the weekend for questioning, according to Reuters.
The group of 10 men ransacked the chapel, vandalizing holy items in the process, while gathering items to take with them to the value of around $7,000, one convent source told local media. The report added that during the approximate one hour that the men remained in the convent, one of the men had raped the elderly nun who lived there, while the others had eaten, then gathered items shortly before running away with their proceeds.
The unnamed source told the Indian Express, “They tied up two of the sisters in a room and dragged the septuagenarian nun to another room. After committing the crime, they returned and appeared remorseless.”
“They then started opening the refrigerators and took out the food items, including chocolates, cakes, pastries and other sweets meant for the students,” the source continued. “Those were brought by a sister who recently went abroad”.
Although the office of Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that the “PM is deeply concerned about the incidents in Hisar, Haryana and Nadia, West Bengal,” some believe he is not doing enough to stop this kind of attack.
Since the leader of the mainstream Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was voted into power last year, incidents by Hindu extremist movements appear to have become more frequent and violent.