It seems like the “troubles” for the church will not end anytime soon. In a recent embarrassment to the church, five nuns from a convent in Kottayam took to the streets alleging laxity in the probe into a complaint of rape filed by their sister nun against a Roman Catholic Church Bishop on September 8th.
During the protest, the nuns said that the victim had been denied justice by the Catholic Church. They even said that not just the police, but even the government has initiated no action against accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar diocese. The protest gained nation wide attention as several catholic organisations came out on streets to protest and even sought for the reformation in the church.
A nun said “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”. What shocked the nuns was that despite the incident of sexual abuse was reported to the authorities, Bishop Franco Mulakkal was not arrested.
“Seventy four days have passed since the complaint was launched against Bishop Franco. The police had recorded her statements several times. But accused Bishop was interrogated only once” she added.
The nun had accused Jalandhar Bishop Franco of raping and having unnatural sex with her multiple times between 2014 and 2016 in her complaint. But when the petition was filed seeking speedy investigation, the Deputy Superintendent of Police, Kottayam, K Subhash informed the Kerala High Court on August 13 that the probe was proceeding effectively and impartially.
“It was found that the Bishop allegedly committed unnatural offence and raped the nun against her will” stated the police in a statement based on initial investigation and available evidence. The statement also said that the bishop confined the nun to a guest room in St Francis Mission Home in Kuravilangad in Kottayam district of Kerala.
Joint secretary of Kerala Catholic Church Reformation Movement, Joseph Varghese said “It is unfortunate that the Church has not initiated any measures against Bishop Franco, though the police have registered an FIR and interrogated him. The High Court also directed the government to arrest the accused bishop at the earliest. We will not end the protest until action against the bishop is taken”.
Aneesh Prabhakaran of Mnushyavakasha Koottayma, a human rights organization “The Church leadership should seriously address the allegations raised by the nun. Though there were earlier instances of allegations of sexual abuse by priests, it is a rare and first-time incident that a nun openly registered protest and submitted a complaint against the bishop”.
Days ago the nun had also said that an attempt has been made on her life. Last week the nun lodged a complaint with the police last week after someone disabled the brakes on her motorbike at her Kuravilangad, Kerala convent.
Now it is interesting to see how organisations like women’s commission would respond to this incident where the nun is being denied of her justice.
Source: Business Standard