Kerala police on Friday registered a case against Missionaries of Jesus hours after the religious congregation released a photograph of the nun, who has accused Jalandhar-based bishop Franco Mulakkal of rape, PTI reported. The nun belongs to the congregation, which flouted the country’s anti-rape law by releasing a photograph of the alleged victim and the perpetrator seated together in a group.
As per the Indian law, it is prohibited to reveal the identity of a rape victim. The congregation today put out the photograph in a release issued to the media to publish the findings of its enquiry commission, which looked into the nun’s allegations.
However, the congregation cautioned against publishing the photograph, saying it cannot be held responsible if the press violates the rule.
The nun has alleged that Mulakkal had sexually assaulted her on multiple occasions over two years since May 2014, when he was in Kerala.
On the complaint filed by the alleged victim’s brother, a case was registered by police in Kottayam district, officials said. According to PTI, police will now record the statement of the nun.
The May 23, 2015 group photograph was taken when the nun was attending a private function along with Bishop Mulakkal, the congregation claimed.
The nun had attended several such functions with the bishop, they said, further alleging her of conspiring against the accused along with her five fellow nuns.
The Missionaries of Jesus, which has put up an enquiry commission, alleged that the nuns had “violated the discipline of the congregation” several times and even refused to renew their vows– a very important step in the life of a nun in a convent.
Framing charges against the nuns, the enquiry commission said the congregation was convinced that they were under the influence of “atheists” and their thoughts.
The religious order has also claimed that the visitors’ register, a key evidence for establishing Mulakkal’s presence in the convent in Kuravilangad where the victim nun lived, was handled by a nun very close to her and they might have tampered with it.
It also accused the victim and her fellow nuns of forcibly shifting to their room the control system of the CCTV cameras from that of Mother Superior. This, the release said, was done to destroy evidence that could reveal their role in the “conspiracy” against the bishop. The enquiry report was released two days after Kerala police asked Bishop Mulakkal to appear before the probe team on September 19.
However, the Catholic reform groups staging a protest at Kochi for the last several days seeking justice for the nun have slammed the congregation and said they would initiate legal action.
The victim nun has alleged that Bishop Mulakkal was using “political and money power” to “bury” the case against him. She had recently sought urgent intervention of the Vatican for justice and demanded the bishop’s removal as the head of the Jalandhar diocese, questioning why the church was “closing its eyes to the truth” when she had mustered courage to make public her suffering.
-With PTI inputs