KOLKATA, (C.M. Paul) – Archbishop Lucas Sircar of Calcutta along with leaders of all faith affiliations will lead an inter-faith protest rally to condemn the brutal murder of Sr Valsa John on Monday, 21st November. It will be held at Allen Park on Mother Teresa Sarani (Park Street) and Camac Street Crossing, Kolkata near Blessed Mother Teresa’s bust from 5.00 PM to 6.30 PM.
Representatives of Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, Zoroastrain as well as all Christian denominations will participate in this prayer gathering. Besides reading brief portions of the sacred scriptures, the leaders will pray for justice and peace to reign in all situations where the poor are oppressed and the social activists are crushed or silenced.
Coadjutor archbishop Thomas D’Souza of Calcutta said, “the brutal murder of Sr Valsa John who served the poor Santals for over a decade is highly condemnable.” He insisted, “life is sacred and no one has the right to take it.”
In his homily at the annual Eucharistic procession on Sunday 20th November, archbishop D’Souza called on thousands of faithful gathered at St Xavier’s College grounds Kolkata to emulate the life of Mother Teresa and Sr Valsa John who gave their life for the poorest of the poor.
Sister Valsa John a Catholic nun of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary was murdered near Dumka in the State of Jharkhand on 15 November and was laid to rest at St. Paul’s Church, Dudhani on Thursday (17 Nov) after a solemnRequiemMass. Over 50 priests, 200 nuns and thousands of people participated at the funeral services. The family members of the deceased, including her eldest brother Baby Malamel and two of her nephews, fromKochiwere among those who attended the funeral.
Hailing from Ernakulam district (Kerala), Sr. Valsa, 52, was reportedly dragged out of her rented house in Pachaura, 60 km from the district headquarters around 10.45 pm and was attacked with weapons — as disclosed by the villagers — by a gang of 40.
Founder of an NGO, Rajmahal Pahar Bachao Andolan, Sr. Valsa is said to have been living at a rented house in Pachaura village. She had begun with forest conservation movement at the Rajmahal Hills. The initiative had not only brought her to public glare, but also had caused discomfort to the stone mine and timber mafia.
Pachaura saw four more murders and several hit-and-run cases. One of the victims was the son of the tribal leader of the RPBA led by the nun. This was followed by the murder of another activist of the movement. His wife and son were later found dead hit by a 60 ton dumper truck.