The Missionaries of Jesus congregation on Monday condemned the protest by five nuns in Kerala, who are seeking justice for a fellow nun who had accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal of the Jalandhar diocese of raping her multiple times in two years. The congregation also called the nun's allegations against the bishop "baseless" and said they "cannot crucify an innocent".
#BREAKING | Congregation condemns protests by Kerala nuns against Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal, who’s accused of rape. Congregation says, allegations against Bishop are baseless, ‘cannot crucify an innocent soul.’ | @Neethureghu with details | #KeralaChurchSins pic.twitter.com/lZsY0aJEon
— News18 (@CNNnews18) September 10, 2018
On Saturday, the five nuns had also accused top police officials of trying to sabotage the investigation into the case. The protesting nuns from a convent in Kottayam denounced the reported move to hand over the inquiry against Bishop Mulakkal to the Crime Branch.
However, Kerala Director General of Police Loknath Behera said there was no move at present to hand over the investigation to the Crime Branch. He added that he has directed the Ernakulam Range inspector general, Vijay Sakhare, to complete the investigation as quickly as possible.
The nuns also alleged that police officers were trying to delay the investigation to shield Mulakkal. "We have full faith in the investigation being carried out by the Deputy Superintendent of Police. But the top police officials are not permitting him to carry out a free and fair investigation. They are delaying the probe and trying to sabotage the case," one of the nuns said.
In her complaint lodged with the Kottayam district police, the nun accused Bishop Mulakkal of raping and having unnatural sex with her 13 times between 2014 and 2016 at a convent in Kuruvalangadu near Kottayam in Kerala. A case was registered on 28 June.
A special team looking into the case said that according to the preliminary investigation, Mulakkal had abused his position as the bishop and repeatedly raped the nun. Responding to a petition seeking a speedy investigation, Deputy Superintendent of Police Vaikom K Subhash had informed the Kerala High Court on 13 August that the probe was proceeding effectively and impartially.
Meanwhile, members of various Catholic reformation organisations continued their protest on Sunday against the alleged laxity in the investigation into the nun's rape complaint.
The five protesting nuns had taken part in the demonstration on Saturday and said they were fighting for the victim, who was denied justice by the C, government and the police.
"We are ready to go to any extent to ensure justice for our sister," a nun had told protesters, who held placards demanding Mulakkal's arrest. She had sought to know why the Jalandhar bishop had not been arrested despite "sufficient evidence" against him and also questioned the Church's stand on the matter. The nun pointed out that 74 days had passed since the complaint was filed against Mulakkal.
The nuns also decided to initiate legal action against an Independent MLA who had maligned the complainant. While addressing a press conference in Kottayam on Saturday, Poonjar MLA PC George had called her a prostitute and sought to know why she had not filed a complaint during the initial stages of sexual misbehaviour by the bishop.
National Commission for Women chief Rekha Sharma also lashed out at George over his derogatory comments and demanded strict action against the lawmaker.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Sep 11, 2018 08:42 AM