Orissa police last night arrested a key Hindu radical wanted for the rape of a Catholic nun.
Pandit Bishimajhi appeared before court in Balliguda, Kandhamal, where the nun was raped during the 2008 anti-Christian violence. He faces at least 15 criminal charges.
Church people allege that Bishimajhi led several mob attacks during the violence. One of his mobs stripped and paraded Sister Meena and Father Thomas Chellan, director of a pastoral center in the district.
Bishimajhi is accused of plotting to murder them both after raping Sister Meena. He is also charged with burning down Jan Vikas, an archdiocesan social service center.
Bishimajhi, secretary of a local unit of the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party, was arrested in Kudutulli, a nearby village where he was hiding.
Manasa Ranjan Singh, a lawyer following Sister Meena’s case, says the arrest would have “definite impact” on the case and boost the morale of other victims seeking justice.
“He was arrested after two years despite having high-level political connections. He cannot escape now,” said Singh.
Father Dibya Parichha, the archdiocese’s spokesperson on the riot cases, added that the arrest would help bring peace and reconciliation. “He was a terror in the area,” he added.