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Last updated: 28 November, 2011 - Published 14:01 GMT
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Church protests arrest of Indian nun

Prem Nivasa in Moratuwa (photo: Sunday Leader)
The Sister is banned by the courts of visiting the convent or adjacent areas
The Catholic Church in Sri Lanka says it is deeply concerned over the arrest of a Catholic Sister of Indian origin over child abuse allegations.

Sister Mary Eliza who ran a convent in Moratuwa was released on bail under strict condition by a magistrate on Monday.

Banning her foreign travels, the court also ordered the Sister not to visit the convent or adjacent areas.

In a statement issued on Saturday, the Catholic Church says the Sister Superior of "Prem Nivasa" of the Missionary Sisters of Blessed Mother Teresa was arrested without giving due respect to the missionary sister.

“There was no time even to send a lawyer to speak on behalf of the arrested Indian Sister, who was not given a charge-sheet by the police,” said the statement issued by Fr Sunil De Silva, a spokesman for the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka.

India concerned

Police who admitted that the nun was not charged of any offence, insisted that the arrest was done based on information received by the national child protection authority (NCPA).

 Indian High Commissioner His Excellency Ashok K. Kantha having heard about the arrest of Mother Teresa's one of the Sisters, Sr. Mary Eliza sent the Second Councilor Secretary and an Official from the Indian High Commission to meet Mother Prema at "Prem Nivasa"
Statement by Catholic Church

The NCPA in a report submitted to the court said the Sister Eliza was arrested on suspicion of selling children under her care and other related abuses.

Categorically denying the accusation, the Church has accused certain media of “trying to arouse the feelings and anger of the people.”

Quoting Rev Sr Johannes MC, the Provincial of the Missionary Sisters in Sri Lanka, the statement said: “We never involve in selling these precious live of the children and never take money for our work.”

The statement added that although the convent has given children for adoption in line with the country’s law, it “never sell their lives.”

Responding, police spokesman Superintendent (SP) Ajith Rohana told BBC Sandeshaya that two teenage pregnant girls were found at the convent.

"Making an underage female pregnant constitutes as statutory rape. It is also an offence not to inform about that offence to the authorities," he added.

The Church says that the Indian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka is also deeply concerned of the arrest of one of Mother Teresa’s Sisters.

A press conference called by the Catholic Church in Colombo on Monday has been cancelled at the last moment without explaining reasons.

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