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Jharkhand Gangrape: Christian body challenges police to prove allegations

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With Jharkhand Police arresting priest Father Alphons Aind of RC Mission School in Burudih and levelling nine charges, in association with the gangrape case of five women activists in Khunti on June 19, the Catholic Churches are angry.

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Quashing the charges put by police against the headmaster, Father Aind, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), which is the supreme body of Roman Catholic Churches in the country have alleged that the Christian community is being targeted.

Disbursing the tall claims of the investigative team, who arrested Father Aind but released a day later, general secretary of CBCI Father Theodore Mascarenhas had pointed that they are being targeted may be because the Christian missionaries are fighting for the land rights of tribal people in the state, reported TOI.

Speaking from the Archbishop House in Ranchi, Father Mascarenhas also rubbished the allegations of possible links between any resemblance the Church and Pathalgarhi Movement. Asking the government to prove the allegations, Father Mascarenhas had said that ‘If the government is so sure, why don’t they come up with documentary evidence?’ He also denied that never ever any letter or public statement was issued by the churches to ‘encourage Pathalgarhi anywhere in the state’, as reported in TOI.

According to the general secretary, ‘Pathalgarhi’ is an old tradition of tribal people which should be preserved for the preservation of tribal in the country. However, the state government is trying to target it by naming it as a ‘criminal act’, said Father Mascarenhas. Adding further, he stated, CBCI had asked two provincial sisters to look at this issue and based on report, the Catholic Churches will proceed.

Five women activists were allegedly gangraped by six unidentified men at gunpoint at Kochang village in Khunti district of Jharkhand on June 19. A case was registered on June 20 and after the pressure mounted, Father Alphons Aind was picked up for interrogation. Though released a day later, police charged him with nine cases, which also includes ‘Omission During Crime’ which meant that Aind did not do anything while the girl were taken.

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