Rights panel to probe Kerala nun’s death

via PNS | Thiruvananthapuram published on August 27, 2011

The State Human Rights Commission of Kerala will collect evidence on Saturday as part of its probe into the death of Christian nun Sr Mary Ancy (48) of Kottayam at the Fathima Matha Convent at Poonkulam near Kovalam beach resort in Thiruvananthapuram district on August 17.

The rights panel’s investigators would record the statements of inmates of the convent and neighbours on Saturday. The commission is investigating the Sr Ancy’s death on the basis of a complaint from rights activist Jomon Puthenpurakkal, whose efforts were instrumental in the probe into the murder of nun Sr Abhaya of Kottayam 19 years ago.

The body of Sr Mary Ancy was found in the waste water tank of the convent on the morning of August 17. Within 24 hours, the police had concluded that it was a case of suicide despite the suspicions aired by the local residents and the nun’s parents, who had petitioned the Kerala Commission for Women over the death.

The women’s commission had visited the convent and recorded statements of the inmates of the convent and the local residents. The police had concluded the death as a suicide case based on the post-mortem report, the findings of the forensic experts and the statements of fellow-nuns, who said Sr Ancy was deeply depressed recently due to some allergies she was suffering from.

Jomon Puthenpurackal has criticized the police team for arriving at a conclusion even without conducting a proper investigation into the death. He pointed out that Sr Ancy could not have been able to lift the heavy concrete lid of the tank and committed suicide given the fact that it required more than one person to remove it.

The nun’s body was found in the waste water pit with a narrow manhole. Local residents pointed out that the fat nun could not have jumped into the pit without suffering scratches on her fat body and that she could not have removed the 22-kg concrete lid off the manhole to open it. The nun’s family is not prepared to accept the theory that she committed suicide due to the allergy.

However, the police said that there was no circumstantial evidence to suspect mystery behind the death. The post-mortem report had said that the nun had not lost virginity and that there were all signs that suggested death by drowning. Also, the forensic examinations of the body and the spot had failed to find anything suspicious.

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