Kerala nuns join public protest demanding arrest of bishop

Bp. Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar

She added that she herself went to see the nun, who was in a deep trauma, and alleged that the Punjab government and the Kerala police were not taking the matter seriously.

Addressing a press conference in Kottayam, Poonjar MLA P C George sought to know why she had not complained in the initial stage of sexual misbehaviour by the Bishop.

On 27th June this year, a nun in Kerala lodged a complaint against Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal, allegeding that he had raped her over the course of two years between 2014 and 2016.

"I met the nun in person, who was in a deep trauma".

Members of various Catholic reformation organisations took to the streets today to protest the alleged laxity in the probe into a complaint of rape filed by a nun against a Roman Catholic church bishop.

In a letter to the Vatican's India representative on Saturday, the nun said that the bishop was using all the money and power at his disposal to derail the case and buy his way out of the charges.

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In his response to the protest meet, George questioned the nun's character in an interaction with the media on Sunday. Following her complaint, the bishop was booked under Section 376 of Indian Penal Code. "Now, we pin our hopes on the judiciary", said a nun who did not want to be named, UCAN news reports. "The nuns were forced to protest only as the last resort", he said. Then in the same week itself, Bishop Franco made a special visit to this community and stayed there overnight.

The nuns alleged that police probing the case were trying to sabotage the investigation. The statement has also said that the allegations against the Bishop are completely baseless.

"It is unfortunate that the Church has not initiated any measures against Bishop Franco, though the police have registered an FIR [first information report] and interrogated him", said Joseph Varghese, joint secretary of Kerala Catholic Church Reformation Movement.

Police sources blamed the Kerala flood crisis for the delay and said the investigations were "going in the best manner possible" and all steps had been taken to protect the nuns.

The police, in a statement based on initial investigation and available evidence, had said it was found that the Bishop allegedly committed unnatural offence and raped the nun against her will.

But supporters of the Missionaries of Jesus nun are vowing to keep up the pressure.

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