'Prejudiced' Murder Probe to 'Tarnish' Church's Image: Bishops

Zee News
December 11, 2008

Kochi, Dec 11: The Kerala Catholic Bishops Conference (KCBC), the apex body of church leaders in the state, on Thursday alleged that attempts were being made to "tarnish" the image of the community through a CBI probe into sister Abhaya murder case and demanded a "free and independent" enquiry.

The CBI had, on November 19, arrested two priests and a sister in connection with the 16-year-old case.

The CBI was investigating with "prejudice and pre-conceived ideas," its Deputy secretary, Stephen Althara, told reporters after the three-day KCBC meeting.

"The KCBC is 'dissatisfied' with the manner in which the case was being investigated by CBI. The agency is revealing investigation details to the media which is not right and attempt is being made to tarnish the catholic church."

"The manner in which the two priests and a nun were arrested, has left the church wondering if the main motive was to bring out the truth or tarnish the church's image."

Instead of bringing out the truth, details of evidence are being revealed to the media, he said.

The church wants the guilty to be brought to book. However, before the accused are found guilty, labelling them as accused was "painful." Though the KCBC is not supporting the accused, the bishops have demanded sincere and independent enquiry, he said.

The recent issue relating to the removal of Kochi Bishop, John Thattunkal, following his adoption of a woman in her 30s as his daughter was not discussed. However, KCBC President, Archbishop Daniel Acharuparambil, informed the conference details relating to the issue, he said.

The body of Abhaya, an inmate of the St Pius X Convent at Kottayam, was found in the well of the convent on March 27, 1992.


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