Sisters in law: Nuns defy patriarchs, turn to police
Seek Jalandhar Bishop’s Arrest In Rape Case

For the first time in the history of the Catholic church in Kerala, a group of nuns defied their sacred vows to stage a public protest against their own church authorities and the police for trying to hush up the alleged rape of a nun by Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar.
Seven nuns, five of them from Missionaries of Jesus congregation to which the rape survivor belongs, satin protest for more than three hours from 11am to 2pm at Vanchi Square on Saturday near the IG’s office here, demanding Mulakkal’s arrest. The bishop allegedly abused the nun several times between 2014 and 2016 at St Francis Mission home and convent in Kuravilangad, near Kottayam, where she is based. The bishop is from Thrissur and Jalandhar diocese comes under the Latin Catholic Church. The bishop and the
nun had worked together at one point in Jalandhar diocese. She later returned to Kuravilangad. The rape survivor had first filed a police complaint on June 27 this year.

“The Church has not given us justice. Neither have the police or government. So, we will fight. We feel that it was the church which
forced us onto the streets,” said Sr Anupama MJ. She was accompanied by Sr A (name not mentioned since she is the survivor’s sister), Sr Neena Rose, Sr Ancitta and Sr Josephine, all from Missionaries of Jesus, and by Sr Teena Jose and Sr Annie Jaise, two sisters from another congregation. The nuns at the protest venue revealed that they are facing threats and intimidation for daring to protest and that church authorities initially tried to bribe them into silence.

PC George MLA hits a new low

M LA P C George, notorious for his tasteless remarks, cast aspersions on the nun who filed a rape complaint against the bishop. “Is there any doubt she is a prostitute? Twelve times she enjoyed it, the 13th time it became rape. Why didn’t she complain the first time,” he asked on Saturday.

The protest was organised by Joint Christian Council, an apex body of independent Christian organisations in the state. “They are in a crisis and need help. The church can’t remain silent. We will stand together
with the nuns till justice is served,” said Indulekha Joseph, an activist with Kerala Christian Reformation Movement.

Sr Anupama spoke of how the church authorities were trying to hush up the whole case. “Many times, the sister was sexually abused by Bishop Mulackal and we had reported it to the Nuncio; they didn’t even send an acknowledgement on receiving our complaint. We also reported directly to Rome but even they haven’t responded,” she told TOI.

Responding to Saturday’s development, KCBC spokesperson Father Varghese Vallikkatt reiterated that the church is the proper forum for redressal. “What has happened is unusual; it does not happen in the
Catholic church. If there is any truth in the allegations, there are enough forums within the church to raise complaints. If there is any truth in the allegations by the nun, then she should also receive justice from the legal system. In the case of action within the church, if she has given a complaint to the concerned forum, then I am sure that an investigation would be going on,” Fr Vallikkatt told TOI.

Friends and relatives of the survivor took part in the protest. The survivor’s brother, who too was present at the protest, corroborated Sr Anupama’s version. “The incident happened in 2014 for the first time and the church higher-ups were alerted. There is a lot of evidence –like the sworn statement under sec 164, doctors’ certificates, statements of the bishop’s driver, log books at the Kuruvilangad convent which disprove his alibi etc. The police are not arresting him only because of pressure from the top,” he said.
On their part, police said they had to be sure of all facts before arresting someone like a bishop. “The incident happened a few years ago; we need to be sure before taking a step further. During the last review meeting, IG Vijay Sakhare raised a few doubts and at least a couple more of them needs to be sorted out.

We will report back to him as soon as that is done. Though an arrest is inevitable in similar cases, we are not rushing it for the sake of the credibility of the case itself,” said K Subash, the investigation officer.

1 Comment

  1. Isaac Gomes said,

    September 10, 2018 at 12:14 pm

    Sr Anupama and the other nuns, should first file an FIR with the police against Kerala MLA Mr P C George for his outlandish remarks and then take him to court if he fails to tender a written apology. Mr P C George’s remarks have been reported in India Today. So he cannot feign innocence.


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