Days after PC George called the Kerala nun who has alleged rape by a bishop, “a prostitute”, the independent MLA from the state said he “shouldn’t have used that word”.
However, George didn’t intend to make an apology to the nun, and continued to talk about her in a disparaging fashion.
“According to me, she isn’t a nun. To refer to any woman as a prostitute is wrong. I shouldn’t have used that word. But I strongly stand by other statements that I made regarding that woman,” George said on Wednesday, 12 September.
Meanwhile, the Kerala police on Wednesday summoned Bishop Franco Mulakkal, the accused in the rape case, asking him to appear on 19 September.
The controversy arose from comments made by the Poonjar MLA on Sunday, 9 September. While addressing a press conference in Kottayam, George sought to know why the nun had not complained at the start of the alleged sexual misbehaviour by the bishop, and made disparaging statements about her character, saying:
“No one has a doubt that the nun is a prostitute. Twelve times she enjoyed it and the thirteenth time, it is rape? Why didn’t she complain the first time?”
The nun's family had said they would initiate legal action against George for hurting her sentiments, according to PTI.
NCW Chief Demands Action Against George
Lashing out at George for using “abusive language” against the survivor, National Commission for Women (NCW) chairperson Rekha Sharma on Sunday said such incidents are shameful.
She added that the nun was allegedly facing discrimination after levelling sexual assault charges against Mulakkal, and was not getting support from the church.
The NCW has told the Hindustan Times that it has directed the DGP to file a case against the MLA.
Protest Against Church’s Inaction
Meanwhile, members of various Catholic reform organisations took to the streets in Kochi on Saturday, 8 September, to protest alleged laxity in the probe into the nun’s complaint, reported PTI. The protests continued on Sunday.
Five nuns from a convent in Kottayam, to which the victim belonged, took part in the demonstration and alleged that she had been denied justice by the church, police and the government as no action had been initiated against the accused.
"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 had told protesters, who held placards demanding the arrest of Bishop Franco.
She questioned the failure to arrest Bishop Franco despite sufficient evidence against him as well as the Church’s stand on the matter.
The protesting nuns said that the victim, who planned to hold a press conference on 9 September, had called it off because she was hurt by George’s abusive charges against her.
Former Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan came out in support of the nun and urged the government to take steps to redress the grievances of the agitating nuns.
He said the culprit in the case was an influential person who still remained untouched, which was putting the complainant under pressure.
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 had accused Bishop Franco (based in Jalandhar) of raping and having unnatural sex with her multiple times between 2014 and 2016.
A police affidavit filed in the Kerala High Court said that the investigation and the evidence collected thus far revealed that the accused Bishop Franco “committed unnatural offences” and “committed rape” repeatedly, reported ANI.
(With inputs from ANI, PTI and Hindustan Times)