The Missionaries of Jesus released a ‘Preliminary Inquiry report’ and a press release targetting the 44-year-old nun from Kerala who was allegedly raped by Bishop Franco Mulakkal of the Roman Catholic Diocese. The religious group also slammed those supporting the nun who raised the issue, calling the rape case a 'conspiracy' against Mulakkal and the Church. They also released a picture of the nun with the bishop in a clear violation of the Supreme Court guidelines that prohibits anyone from publicly revealing the identity of a rape survivor, reported Times Now.
Nuns are blackmailing the Church and Bishop Mulakkal
In the press release, the congregation claimed that six nuns are blackmailing the Bishop from Jalandhar to malign the name of Mulakkal and the Church. "Blackmail is being cunningly used and along with a conspiracy group, attempts are being made to malign the church. Six nuns are working against the Church with some clear-cut agenda and some organisations are backing them without knowing the truth. Some political leaders are also hand in glove with them and causing deep hurt to the Church and the Congregation," the statement, originally published in Malayalam, said.
The statement claimed that that earlier the nun had two demands, which was rejected by the Church body. The first demand was for a new independent congregation in Bihar and the second was that the rape survivor should be made the regional mother general of the congregation.
After the Church rejected the demands the nun asked for permission to leave the nunnery and get married. She subsequently returned and expressed a desire to the Counsel at the congregation to withdraw her application of leaving the nunnery. The release further claimed that since then the nun has been working on an agenda with a conspiracy against the Reverend father and Mother General. The congregation is now filing a petition with the DGP of Kerala Police.
What the preliminary inquiry report claims
The Church body in a three-page Preliminary Inquiry report claimed that the allegations against Bishop Franco Mulakkal were baseless and part of a larger conspiracy. They also said that the nuns have been influenced by “rationalists” to make such accusations against the Bishop, India Today reported.
They accused the “nun and her friends” of tampering with the visitors’ register and the CCTV system in the report, the The News Minute reported. “Victim’s friend was handling the visitors' register in the convent, they must have tampered with this. The victim had forcefully taken control of the CCTV system from Mother Superior,” the internal report released by the Missionaries of Jesus said. The report also said that the nuns had fallen prey to the ideas of rationalists.
The report also questioned credibility of the nun’s claims by saying that if she had actually been sexually assaulted, she would not have accompanied the Bishop who is accused in other events and trips, according to The News Minute.
Their statement said, "The Missionaries of Jesus has understood that the allegations about the Bishop repeatedly raping the nun multiple times between 2014 and 2016 is false and is part of a conspiracy. In the month of May in 2015, the sister had invited the Bishop for a function and even after that, it has been found that the sister has taken part in a lot of functions with the Bishop. Any woman, who was raped by a man, would never attend functions or travel with that man. This is a truth that cannot be denied.”
Currently being heard by a bench of the Kerala High Court, the matter has invited widespread outrage, with protests taking place in many parts of Kerala. Protests against the delay in the Bishop's arrest have been going on outside the Kerala High Court for eight days now. The police have also been accused of not taking the investigation seriously.
Earlier on Monday, the Missionaries of Jesus congregation condemned the protest by five nuns in Kerala, seeking justice for the rape survivor. The congregation also called the nun's allegations against the bishop "baseless" and said they "cannot crucify an innocent".
Meanwhile, an affidavit was filed by the state deputy superintendent of police K Subhash which stated that Mulakkal had committed unnatural sex against the consent of the nun. The affidavit, filed in the Kerala High Court on 10 August by the investigating officer, states, "(D)uring the course of investigation so far conducted and the available evidences collected so far, it is revealed that the accused committed unnatural offences and committed rape repeatedly on different dates between 5/5/2018 and 23/09/2016 on the victim, against the will and consent of her by abusing his dominance over her as Bishop of Jalandhar after confining her in room number 20 of St Francis Mission Home Kuravilangad." (sic)
The Kerala Police has asked Mulakkal to appear before the investigating team on 19 September. The decision to summon the clergyman was taken after a meeting chaired by Sakhare, Inspector General (Ernakulam range), which was also attended by Kottayam district superintendent of police Harisankar and Vaikom deputy superintendent of police K Subhash amid mounting pressure on police to initiate action against Mulakkal.
"We reviewed the entire case today (Wednesday) and there are contradictions in the statements of the victim, the accused and the witnesses. So, we have asked the bishop to appear before us on 19 September, when the Investigation Officer would question him.
"The contradictions in the statements have to be cleared, or else there could be issues," Inspector General of Police (IGP) Vijay Sakhre told the media in Kochi soon after a review meeting on the case.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Sep 14, 2018 15:34 PM