KERALA

Special team to probe nun’s death

Staff Reporter

Diocese also orders probe



Team will be headed by Kollam Dy.SP C.G. Suresh Kumar

Her father raises charge of sexual harassment



KOLLAM: Superintendent of Police M.R. Ajith Kumar has ordered a probe by a special police team into the suicide of Sister Anoopa Mary, 23, at Saint Mary’s Convent here on Monday. The team will be headed by Kollam Deputy Superintendent of Police C.G. Suresh Kumar.

Bishop of Kollam Stanley Roman, who welcomed the police probe, has ordered a probe by the diocese by constituting an inquiry commission headed by Vicar-General Paul Mullassery. Fr. George Ribeiro, public relations officer of the Bishop’s House, said on Tuesday that the bishop had granted full powers to the commission for initiating action based on its findings. He said the Bishop’s House would whole-heartedly welcome a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation in the case.

Anoopa Mary, attached to the order of the Franciscan Sisters of Vimala Hridyaya (she was not from the order of the Holy Cross as reported in these columns on Tuesday), had taken her profession of perpetual vows only two months ago after five years of spiritual training in another convent of the same order.

Allegations

The probes have been ordered in the wake of allegations that the nun was forced to take the extreme step following mental and sexual harassment at the convent, where she was put up for the past two months. The allegation has been raised by her father, Papachan, who works as a cook at the Kollam Bishop’s House.

The police said a suicide note found from the nun did not specifically mention sexual harassment though serious mental harassment from the convent authorities had been mentioned.

Mr. Suresh Kumar said that though Papachan’s statement was recorded on Monday, he did not mention anything about sexual harassment then. Papachan contended that Anoopa Mary had mentioned it to his wife and elder daughter when she visited the house last time. However, his wife and daughter informed him about it only on Monday night. Mr. Suresh Kumar said a separate statement was taken from Papachan and his family members after the funeral.

Tension

Meanwhile, Anoopa’s relatives refused to hand over the body to the convent authorities, who wanted the body to be buried in their own cemetery. But Papachan insisted that the body be laid to rest at the cemetery of their parish church at Kanjoracode near here.

There was tension at the church since the parish priest was not present for the funeral rites. But soon he arrived and conducted the rituals.

Education Minister M.A. Baby called on Papachan’s family on Monday night and offered his condolences.

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