Allegations of rape and unnatural sex against a Roman Catholic bishop by a nun in Kerala continues to haunt the church, with a section of followers filing a petition against the head of Syro-Malabar church for reportedly covering up the incident, reported PTI.
The petition was filed against Syro-Malabar church head, Cardinal George Alencherry, for allegedly failing to act on a complaint by the victim two years ago.
In the petition to Ernakulam Range IG Vijay Sakhare, the church followers alleged that the nun had complained to the cardinal about the ordeal she underwent at the hands of the bishop of Jalandhar diocese, but he did not act on it.
A man named John Jacob, a representative of the followers who filed the complaint, said if the Cardinal had forwarded the complaint to police, such a situation would not have occurred, reported PTI.
There was no official reaction from the Syro-Malabar church on the charges against the cardinal, who is currently in the Vatican.
Kerala State Women's Commission chairperson MC Josephine said if charges of rape had been raised, that should have been handed over to police. Syro-Malabar church sources, however, claimed the church had nothing to do with the charges as both the Bishop and nun were serving in the Latin sect of the church.
According to PTI, in her complaint to the Kottayam District Police chief, the nun has charged the bishop of the Jalandhar diocese of Roman Catholic Church with rape and unnatural sex multiple times at a small town near Kottayam between 2014 and 2016.
She had said that she would go ahead with legal action against the top priest.
The nun alleged she was abused for the first time in 2014 at a guest house near an orphanage in Kuravilangad region in this district.
Meanwhile, supporters of the bishop rejected the charges against the priest.
They said the nun filed the complaint after a priest, also an official of the Jalandhar diocese, lodged a police complaint against her relatives on charges of threatening the bishop.
In his complaint, the priest alleged that the relatives of the nun threatened to kill the bishop after the latter ordered a probe against her on the basis of a complaint by a woman.
Based on the complaints of the nun and the priest, police have launched an investigation. Deputy Superintendent of Police-ranking official, who is probing the case told The News Minute that the bishop has been booked under Section 376 of the IPC (punishment for rape).
The bishop first filed a complaint with us on 23 June. The complaint said that the nun had raised sexual abuse allegations against him after he removed her from an administrative position. Based on his complaint, we have filed a case under Section 295 A – deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting the religious beliefs.Vaikkom Deputy SP told TNM
The police recorded the statement of the victim at a convent near Kuravilangad in Kottayam district on Sunday, 1 July. The nun claimed that she had earlier complained to the cardinal about the incident.
We will go to Jalandhar to record the statement of the accused bishop, police said. The bishop, a Keralite, has been serving in the Jalandhar diocese since 2013.
(With inputs from PTI and The News Minute)