In a first, five nuns joined a public protest in Kochi on Saturday to demand the immediate arrest of a bishop who has been accused of raping a nun.
In June, a nun had complained that Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal had raped her 13 times, over a period of two years from May 2014. A case was registered by the Kottayam police on June 28, and Mulakkal was questioned last month.
“We have been knocking on the doors of the church and the government. There is nobody to help us in our cause,’’ said Sister Anupama, one of the nuns who participated in the protest organised by the Joint Christian Council. “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,” said Sister Anupama.
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 said.
But Kottayam SP Hari Sankar said they don’t have the “required evidence that could lead to the arrest of the bishop”. “We have got some details from the statement of the nun and police are examining this,” he said. “Last week, we examined all the evidence.
We will look at it once again, and then take a final decision,” he said.
The SP said the delay in filing the complaint is a major factor in the case, and there is no scientific evidence to substantiate the rape charges. Asked about the alleged complaints of misbehaviour filed by other nuns against the bishop, the SP said: “We haven’t got any such statement. No other nun has given a statement accusing the bishop.”
Meanwhile, Mulakkal said in Jalandhar that he was cooperating with the Kerala Police in the investigation.