NEWS ABHAYA COURT
TVM: The Special CBI Court here on Tuesday pronounced its verdict in the 28-year-old case of death of Sister Abhaya and stated that this was a murder. Two of the accused, Father Thomas Kottoor and Sister Sephy have been convicted. The sentence will be delivered by Justice K Sanal Kumar on Wednesday.
The 19-year-old nun’s body had been fished out of the well at her Catholic convent in Kottayam in 1992 under mysterious circumstances. It was widely believed to be a case of murder.
Father Thomas Kottoor and Sister Sephy were the principal accused. Another accused, Father Jose Puthrukalayil, had been acquitted from the case two years ago. Abhaya was part of the St Joseph’s congregation for religious order of Sisters under the Syro-Malabar Catholic Archeparchay of Kottayam.
The longest-run investigation into a suspected murder case initially saw the police investigations concluding that it was a case of suicide, not murder. These investigations suggested that the nun was having mental problems. Later, based on a PIL, the Kerala High Court transferred the case to the CBI. Two CBI investigations were held, one after another. The first failed to establish how the death occurred. The second investigation concluded that it was a case of murder, but there was not much of evidence to prove this. Two priests and a sister were listed as accused and arrested in 2008.
Sister Abhaya, Beena Thomas, was found dead in a well at the St Pius Convent in Kottayam on March 27, 1992. Her body was fished out later from the well. As per the investigations, the nun woke up at 4am to prepare for exams, and a while later went to the kitchen to drink water. The door of the fridge was left open and a bottle of water was found spread on the floor. A single slipper was found under the fridge and the other near the well. This meant manhandling. Post mortem found there were injuries on the body but no sign of any sexual assault.
The prosecution told the court that Sister Abhaya had, when she went to the kitchen to fetch water, found two priests and one sister in a compromising position. They killed Abhaya by hitting her on the head with a sharp object (axe) and then dumped her in a well.
FAMILY THANKS GOD
Sister Abhaya’s family thanked god and those who campaigned for justice for the family. An action council led by social activist Jomon Puthanpurakkal campaigned for justice to the family of Abhaya and unraveling of the truth, from the very start of the case in 1992.
INDIA HERE AND NOW