A nun from Karnataka has leveled physical and sexual harassment against fellow nuns for exposing illegal and immoral activities in her congregation. The nun has shared a video message in which she has accused the Daughters of Our Lady of Mercy Mission of suppressing incidents of sexual harassment in an institution for the hearing impaired and mute children. She has also revealed that there is corruption at the convent. The nun has been threatened and called mentally unstable to discredit the details of her expose.
Sister Elsina alias KS Sudha, a 45 year old Malayali nun, working with the congregation of Our Lady of Mercy Mission in Karnataka has accused fellow nuns of physically and mentally abusing her and allowing two men in the convent to molest her. The nun had tried to expose the illegal activities and corruption in the church-run institutions and was termed mentally unstable by the congregation. She was admitted to a psychiatric hospital run by the nuns after being allegedly drugged.
She had sent a video to her nephew saying that she feared for her life as the senior nuns at the convent didn’t like her exposing the illegalities. Hindustan Times reported that her complaint said, “her relative Bindu along with a driver tied her, beat her up, snatched her mobile phone, and gave her an injection due to which she fell unconscious” on May 31. Sister Elsina had filed a complaint with the Karnataka Women’s Commission citing the irregularities at the convent. She accuses the nuns in the congregation of asking her to withdraw the complaint and threatening her with dire consequences for refusing to do it.
That is when she recorded a video seeking her nephew’s help if something happens to her. The nephew had shown the video to the police in which she said, “I am sharing this video as I face a threat to my life. I have identified many activities happening here. Immoral activities, illegal activities, sexual harassment, and two murders“. She had worked as a teacher and headmistress in another congregation before she was appointed as the headmistress of the school for deaf and mute children run by the Lady of Mercy Mission in Kodagu. She found out that the disabled children were being sexually harassed and when she broached the subject with the superiors, she was threatened and transferred to the Provincial Convent in Mysuru.
Talking to TNM, the nun said, “A nun, on May 31, told me that I had a guest. There were two or three men, and two nuns, who were all strangers to me. They were talking to each other; only later I sensed that it was some conspiracy between some goons and people of my congregation to attack me. One of the men soon beat me up and I fell down; they snatched my mobile phone and tied my hands up. One of the men injected me with something and I collapsed. They dragged me like an animal to a vehicle, the nuns were helping them. One man stamped on my feet. No one cared to help me despite my screaming. I was still conscious and I could see one of the nuns taking something from one of the men”.
She was beaten by the hospital staff and molested by two men when she was unconscious and was not in a fit state to resist their sexual advances. She said that the men touched her private parts, one of them a staff nurse. Her nephew went to the police station as he couldn’t reach her on the phone and only then did these details emerge. The nuns running the hospital didn’t even allow her father to see her and she was asked to give a self-declaration that she admitted herself to the hospital of her own volition. She had to fake it and run to her father to escape their clutches.
After being discharged from the hospital she went to the police station along with her father and filed a complaint. But she alleges that police are in cahoots with the congregation and trying to compromise. Her parents are reportedly poor and she cannot afford to live with them. The convent wouldn’t allow her to even take her things. “It’s like I am on the streets,” she says. She is said to be staying with a relative at the moment to pursue the case. But police haven’t even registered an FIR based on her complaint.
Based on Sister Elsina’s complaint, Sister Bindu, Sister Ann Mary, Sister Deepa and drivers of the convent have been booked under sections 354(A) (sexual harassment and punishment for sexual harassment), 392 (punishment for robbery), 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 504, 506 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code. Meanwhile, the congregation of the Lady of Mercy has alleged that the nun is mentally unstable and that she is leveling these allegations to tarnish the image of the congregation and to blackmail them.
Times of India reported that as per the information divulged by a senior official “the issue appears to be a quarrel between the nuns working in the convent”. It appears that the police department is trying to suppress the allegations as is evident from many other cases of sexual abuse in church-run institutions. The Catholic church not only shielded rape-accused bishop Franco Mullakkal but also dismissed the victim Lucy from the congregation. The bishop was recently acquitted by the court. A similar fate seems to await nun Elsina as well.