The National Commission for Women (NCW) on Sunday reacted sharply to Independent MLA PC George’s ‘prostitute’ remark against a Kerala nun, who has accused Jalandhar-based Bishop Franco Mullackal of raping her 13 times over a period of two years from 2014.
In an interaction with the media on Saturday, the independent lawmaker from Poonjar raised questions over the victim’s character and said, “Is there any doubt that the nun is a prostitute? Twelve times it was pleasure, 13th time it became a rape? Where was she when it happened 12 times? Whom is she telling this to? Why did she not complain on the first time it happened?… Let the three sisters be examined. Let us see if they are holy,” George had said.
In August last year, the MLA ran into controversy when he made insensitive remarks against an actress who was abducted and sexually assaulted in a car in Kochi.
Condemning the statement, NCW chief Rekha Sharma demanded strict action against the MLA. “I am ashamed of such lawmakers who are giving these statements instead of helping women. NCW has already taken up the matter & we will write to DGP demanding strict action against him,” she was quoted as saying by ANI.
Alleging that the victim was facing criticism from the Church for seeking justice, Rekha said, “I met her in person. She was protesting against the Bishop and demanding justice for herself. I’ve seen her being denounced by the church. She was denied basic facilities like ration and stipend.”
CPM’s Subhashini Ali also slammed the MLA for his remarks. “The nuns showed courage in making such allegations against someone who is head of the organisation (Bishop). In such a situation, for somebody who is a public figure, it is horrible to make this comment,” she said.
The MLA’s remarks came on a day when a group of five nuns held a public protest in Kochi to demand the immediate arrest of the Bishop.
“We have been knocking on the doors of the church and the government. There is nobody to help us in our cause,’’ Sister Anupama, one of the nuns who participated in the protest organised by the Joint Christian Council, had said. “The bishop has political clout in Kerala as well as Punjab. He is using money to influence everyone,’’ she alleged.
The nuns held placards which read “who is protecting Franco”, “we need justice”, “our life is in danger”. “We don’t have any plan to quit the congregation. We will fight within the church as well as the congregation. We don’t know what will be the fallout of this agitation,” Sister Anupama had said.
George Joseph, working president of the Joint Christian Council, said the protest was against the state government and police. “The complainant nun needs justice from the government. Bishop Mulakkal should be arrested. Once he is arrested, the church would be forced to take action against him. Hence, it is the government that should act first,’’ he told yesterday.
On Sunday, several priests have joined the protest in solidarity with the nuns. Former high court judge Kemal Pasha is slated to reach the protest venue soon.