Killing the One who Served Them

The seven men accused of killing Sister Valsa, a nun and activist in India, is set to begin Tuesday.  Sister Valsa John Malamel was born in India and became a member of the Roman Catholic order of nuns, and made it her life’s mission to help and educate the poor in the village of Pachwara, India.  She encouraged villagers to send their children to school and to stop alcohol abuse which led to physical altercations.  Most recently, Sister Valsa worked on opposing a government-sponsored coal mine which opened in Pachwara.  Sister Valsa was instrumental in getting the villagers and the coal mine to agree to a compromise, in which the mine would be permitted to operate but would have to provide displaced villagers with shelter and income from lost profits, and required the mine to use profits to establish a hospital, schools and jobs for villagers.  When the coal mine failed to meet its obligations, Sister Valsa and the villagers grew frustrated.  Several villagers decided they no longer wanted Sister Valsa as their intermediary, and a rift developed.  After one of her closest friends was raped, men came for Sister Valsa and murdered her.  The seven villagers accused of killing Sister Valsa have denied any involvement in the murder, and the police continue to search for more men they believe were involved.  Recently, the Wall Street Journal published an interesting investigation into the life and murder of Sister Valsa.


  1. This kind of violence is an international problem and should not be tolerated in any circumstances. This implicate issues of gender and religion which are currently very hot topics in the United States. India has vowed to prosecute the men accused of committing this crime and hopefully they will. But what if this had happened in Iraq or Iran? Would it be investigated since she is a woman AND a Christian? When you look at this in terms of what is going in the United States it is clear to see that issues of gender inequality in the law are still very relevant. For example, take the current proposed abortion law in Virginia that would require a woman to have a transvaginal ultra sound performed against her will. Laws need to be made that protect all people equally and when laws are broken they need to be enforced equally, regardless of the gender of the victim. It is sometimes hard to see the United States take an opinion in cases like this about how wrong it is and how these countries should change to be more like use because we clearly still have a long road ahead of us in resolving our own problems.

  2. This is very sad. A nun who dedicated her life to helping people gets allegedly murdered by same people that she spent her helping. Why did they resort to killing her? If they were outraged with the coal mine, why kill their advocate?
    On the night Sister Valsa was murdered, why did she call a friend who lived hours away when the men surrounded her house? After hanging up with that friend, why did she call another friend stating “ I have been surrounded on all sides”? Her phone went dead during that call. Why didn’t she call the police? When the mob surrounded her home, she called her close friends instead.
    I am very interested to see what happens at the trial of the seven men who were accused of killing Sister Valsa.

  3. It is surprising that the men would have resorted to killing their intermediary with the coal mines and not exerting violence towards those that run the mine. However, anger is not always targeted in the most accurate manner. It is really unfortunate that those people lost such a strong advocate. I share the concerns posted above about the inequality victims under the law. It seems that her murderers are going to be tried – but it is of course a sad reality that had circumstances been only slightly different that her murder may have gone unreported. I am glad that the wall street journal did such a thorough story.

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