India: Alleged Mastermind in Nun Rape Arrested

By Altaf Ahmad
2015.06.18
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150618-IN-suspect-620.jpg Indian police officers take Mohammad Sikander Shaikh (hooded), a Bangladeshi suspect in the rape of a nun, into custody at CID headquarters in Kolkata, March 26, 2015.
AFP

More than three months after an elderly nun was gang-raped during a robbery at a missionary school in West Bengal, Indian police on Thursday announced the arrest of the suspected mastermind in the case, local media reported.

Acting on a tip, detectives with the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on Wednesday night arrested a man they identified as Nazrul Islam (alias Noju), a 28-year-old Bangladeshi citizen, at the Sealdah railway station in Kolkata.

“Noju is the key suspect in the case,” Agence France-Presse quoted Dilip Kumar Adak, a local deputy inspector-general with CID, as saying.

"Our officers laid a trap for him at Sealdah station and nabbed him when he was getting down from a local train," CID officer Chittaranjan Nag told NDTV.

With the latest arrest a total of six persons are in custody in the infamous nun-rape case, but two more suspects, identified as Tuhin and Bombay Salim, are at-large.

The CID will likely file a charge sheet against the suspects by the end of June, after obtaining a statement from the victim within the next few days, One India News reported.

Authorities barred reporters from talking to the men in custody.

The suspects include at least one other Bangladeshi, Mohammad Sikander Shaikh, who was arrested in Mumbai on March 26.

On the night of March 14, a group of eight robbers ransacked the Convent of Jesus and Mary in Ranaghat, a town about 78 km (48 miles) from Kolkata, and allegedly raped one of the nuns, who was in her seventies, before making off with money.

"All the five accused arrested earlier identified Nazrul as a person who committed the heinous crime," a police officer was quoted by BBC as saying.

Christians demand stern punishment

The incident triggered mass protests in cities across India.

“The culprits who committed the heinous crime should be hanged,” Aimee, 32, a female teacher from New Delhi, told BenarNews.

“The authorities should make a strong case against all [the] accused and ensure stringent punishment so that it acts as a deterrent against potential offenders,” she added.

While hailing the alleged mastermind’s arrest, some members of India’s Christian minority community complained of inaction by authorities in catching and prosecuting suspects in attacks on churches in several Indian cities.

“There have been several attacks by miscreants on churches in Delhi and Mumbai since December last year, but police have failed to nab the culprits,” Father Thomas Jacob, a senior member of Delhi’s Catholic Sacred Heart Cathedral, told BenarNews.

“Such inaction encourages the miscreants to commit unlawful acts against minority community members,” he added. “On behalf of community members, I appeal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to personally intervene and stop such acts against the churches and community members.”

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