Prayers were said at churches across India Sunday for an elderly nun who was gang-raped at a convent in an attack that has intensified anger over sexual violence and fuelled fears among beleaguered Christians.
The assault on the 71-year-old is the latest in a string of high-profile rapes in India and comes after a spate of attacks on churches that prompted Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi to promise a crackdown on religious violence.
The nun was attacked late Friday after a gang of half a dozen robbers broke into a convent school in eastern West Bengal state and ransacked the premises, police said.
The robbers gagged a security guard before assaulting the nun. They then entered the principal’s room and stole cash, a laptop and a mobile phone, according to police.
Four of the six attackers have been identified through CCTV footage and a reward of 100,000 rupees (around $1,500) is on offer for any leads on the suspects.
Five others have been detained for questioning, but a breakthrough has proved elusive so far.
Arnab Ghosh, a police superintendent who visited the convent near the town of Ranaghat, said the robbery appeared to have been carefully planned.
“CCTV footage showed that six men, aged between 20 and 30, scaled the boundary wall around 11.40 pm (1810 GMT) and entered the school and disconnected the telephone lines,” he told AFP.
“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,” Ghosh said.