Kerala: More priests, nuns join protest demanding bishop Franco Mulakkal's arrest

Lester Mason
September 11, 2018

Five nuns of the Missionaries of Jesus started an indefinite protest on Saturday next to the Kerala High Court, seeking justice for their friend and colleague, a 44-year-old nun who had accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar diocese of multiple instances of rape.

In a letter to the Vatican's India representative on Saturday, the nun said that the bishop was using all the money and power at his disposal to derail the case and buy his way out of the charges.

Addressing a press conference in Kottayam, Poonjar MLA P C George sought to know why she had not complained in the initial stage of sexual misbehaviour by the Bishop.

She added that she herself went to see the nun, who was in a deep trauma, and alleged that the Punjab government and the Kerala police were not taking the matter seriously. He later raped 13 times in the next two years. In a statement, the congregation said, "We strongly condemn the protest in Kochi". Then Bishop Franco asked our superiors to send her to another state where we have more than 3 communities, to a place where only junior sisters were there.

The case in the southern state of Kerala has attracted global attention, as it is extremely rare for nuns to publicly accuse a superior of wrongdoing, let alone sexual assault.

Even as the protest happened, PC George in a press meet, insulted the nun and called her a "prostitute" in front of cameras, forcing the nun to cancel her press meet scheduled for Sunday. On the basis of her complaint, the Kuravilangad police registered Crime No. 746 of 2018 of Kuruvilangad Police for offences punishable under Sections 342, 376 (2)(k) and (n), 377, and 506 (I) IPC. Then in the same week itself, Bishop Franco made a special visit to this community and stayed there overnight. The victim had also alleged that she had received death threats from unknown people two months ago.

Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president M.M. Hassan said the nuns should get justice.

Former Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan came out in support of the nun and urged the government to take steps to redress the grievances of agitating nuns.

The nuns alleged that police probing the case were trying to sabotage the investigation.

The bishop confined the nun to a guestroom in St Francis Mission Home in Kuravilangad in Kottayam district of Kerala.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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