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Kerala nun found dead inside well of convent

KOLLAM: A 55-year-old nun was found dead on Sunday inside the well of Mount Tabor Dayara Convent at Pathanapuram, more than 75 km from the state capital, the police said.

The body of Sister Susan, a teacher at St Stephens School attached to the convent, was found floating in the well at the sprawling compound on Sunday morning.

A senior police officer told PTI that the body had “self-inflicted” injuries on both hands.

“There were self-inflicted injuries on her wrists. The left cut was more severe and deep. The injury on the right wrist was

comparatively small,” the officer said.

He said more details would be available after the postmortem report comes.

The nun belonged to the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church.

Other inmates of the convent first came across bloodstains near the well and then found her body floating by 9 am.

Bloodstains were also found insider her room, nearly 50 metres away from the well.

The police and fire department personnel rushed to the spot, pulled the body out and carried out an inquest at the scene.

A case of unnatural death was registered and the body was sent for postmortem to the Government Medical College in Thiruvananthapuram, the officer said.

The police earlier examined the nun’s room and other premises of the convent and recorded statements of the members.

Local TV channels quoted inmates of the convent as saying that the deceased nun was under depression for some time, but the police did not confirm the claims.

Kollam district Congress committee president Bindhu Krishna termed the incident shocking and demanded an impartial inquiry.

The death of another Catholic nun, Sister Abhaya, under similar circumstances, had triggered a controversy in the state two decades ago.

Abhaya’s body was found in the well of St Pius Convent in Kottayam on March 27, 1992. She was an inmate of the convent.

Initially, the case was investigated by the local police and the state crime branch, which concluded that Abhaya had committed suicide.

However, the case was taken over by the CBI on March 29, 1993.

In 2008, the agency arrested two priests – Fr Thomas Kottoor, Fr Jose Poothrikkayiland – and nun Sister Sephy on the charge of murder.

According to prosecution, Kottoor and Poothrikkayil allegedly had an illicit relationship with Sephy, also an inmate of the convent.

On the night of March 27, 1992, Abhaya allegedly saw Kottoor and Sephy in a compromising position, following which the three accused hacked her to death with an axe and threw her body into the well, CBI had said in its chargesheet.

The accused were arrested in 2008 and released on bail by the Kerala High Court a year later.

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