Protests in Kochi demanding arrest of Bishop accused of raping nun

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Kochi, September 8: In protest against the alleged rape of a Kerala nun by Roman Catholic Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar diocese, nuns in Kochi on Saturday demanded his arrest. The sit-in protest that took place at the High Court Junction bus station in the city was called by the Joint Christian Council.
At least five nuns from a convent in Kottayam, to which the victim belonged, also took part in the demonstration and alleged that the victim had been denied justice by the church, police and the government as no action has been initiated against accused Bishop Mulakkal.
“We are fighting for our sister. She has been denied justice by the Church, government and the police. We are ready to go to any extent for ensuring justice to our sister,” a nun told protesters here, who held placards demanding arrest of Bishop Franco. She sought to know why Bishop Franco has not been arrested despite sufficient evidence against him and also questioned the Church’s stand on the matter.
“Seventy-four days have passed since the complaint was made against Bishop Franco. The police recorded her statements several times. But the accused bishop was interrogated only once,” the nun said. They alleged that the police probing the case was trying to sabotage the investigation.
Catholic reformation organisations, including Kerala Catholic Church Refomation Movement (KCRM), took part in the protest, KCRM office bearer George Joseph said, adding some organisations, including KCRM, were planning to continue the stir till justice is delivered in the case.
In her complaint filed at Kuravilangad Police Station, the victim had alleged that she had received death threats from unknown people two months ago. The nun has accused Jalandhar Bishop Franco of raping and having unnatural sex with her multiple times between 2014 and 2016.
A special team probing the case has said according to preliminary investigation, Bishop Franco abused his position and repeatedly raped the nun.
Responding to a petition seeking speedy probe, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Kottayam, K Subhash had informed the Kerala High Court on August 13 that the probe was proceeding effectively and impartially. The police, in a statement based on initial investigation and available evidence, had said it was found that the Bishop allegedly committed an unnatural offence and raped the nun against her will.
In the statement, it was alleged that the bishop confined the nun to a guest room in St Francis Mission Home in Kuravilangad in Kottayam district of Kerala. (Agencies)