A 71-year-old Indian nun, who was gang raped by robbers last Friday night inside a Catholic missionary school in eastern India, is reportedly asking God to forgive the men who assaulted her.
A group of bandits raided the Convent of Jesus and Mary School in West Bengal on Friday and reportedly tried to assault another woman inside the school. The aging nun, who remains nameless, tried to prevent the men from attacking the woman.
The Times of India reports that the men locked the nun in a room while two other members of the church and a security guard were tied down to chairs in a separate area. After the three of them were tied up, the bandits went into the room where the elderly nun was being held and gang-raped her.
The men also ransacked the school, ripped apart a Bible, destroyed a bust of Jesus and stole cash, laptops, phones and other belongings.
After the four victims were discovered inside the school on Saturday morning, the nun was transported to the Ranaghat Hospital where she was treated for her injuries, according to the Times.
A mother of one of the school's students who went to visit the nun at the hospital explained that she and other visitors were astounded to hear that the nun was more concerned about whether or not her attackers were forgiven, rather than her own physical state.
The Times reports: "Visitors could not hold back their tears when she prayed that the men who harmed her be forgiven."
"That's the greatness of spiritual soul like her," the woman said. "But all of us want the miscreants behind such heinous crime to be arrested and given exemplary punishment."
The hospital's superintendent, Atindranath Mondal, said the nun was also deeply concerned with the safety of the school and its students. Mondal explained that the nun kept saying, "Dil mein dard hai (my heart is broken).
Distraught over the physical attack against the nun, citizens in the Nadia district of West Bengal shut down schools and shops on Tuesday and protested over what they perceive to be police inaction in regard to justice for the nun and school.
"We have called for the shutdown of businesses and shops in this town to support the nun … and the immediate arrest of the culprits," Samiran Paul, a cloth merchant and spokesman for the local business association, told AFP. "We can't imagine such inhumane torture on an elderly nun who devoted her life to service of humanity. It's a shame on us."
The school's surveillance cameras captured six men in their 20s scaling the school walls. The video footage has reportedly captured the faces of at least three of the men.
Three days after the crime, key suspects are believed to remain at-large even though local police have detained at least eight individuals who they suspected as culprits. None of detainees faces, however, matched the faces of the men caught on video.
Although no arrests have been made, Nadia District Police Superintendent Arnab Ghosh told media outlets that five people are still being held in connection to the crime.
"CCTV footage showed that six men, aged between 20 and 30, scaled the boundary wall round 11:40 p.m. and entered the school and disconnected the telephone lines," Ghosh explained. "At least two of them were armed and the rest were carrying burglary tools. In the chapel, a holy scripture was found torn and … a bust of Jesus was broken."
A reward of 100,000 rupees has been offered for leads to an arrest.