Kerala Nun Rape: CID Interrogates Bishop for 2nd Consecutive Day
Interrogation of former Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal, accused of raping a Kerala nun, continued for the second consecutive day on Thursday, 20 September, ANI reported. Mulakkal arrived at the Crime Branch (CID) in Kochi early morning where he will be interrogated by a 5-member team.
Mulakkal's anticipatory bail plea was postponed on Tuesday 18 September, following which he was interrogated by the team on Wednesday. The team is being led by Vaikom DySP K Subhash.
On Tuesday, the Kerala High Court deferred Mulakkal's bail plea to 25 September.
Bishop’s Anticipatory Bail Hearing Adjourned
The Bishop, in his anticipatory bail application, had said that the claims made by the nun against him were false, and that she had some ‘personal vengeance’ against him.
According to The News Minute, in his bail application, the Bishop had requested not to be arrested and said that he is willing to cooperate in all the processes of the investigation. He also said that in the nun’s first statement there was no complaint of sexual harassment.
On Monday, the Diocese of Jalandhar had announced that the accused Bishop had written to the Pope, and requested to be temporarily relieved from his administrative duties.
“Bishop Franco Mulakkal wrote a letter to Holy Father Pope Francis expressing his desire to step aside temporarily and requested to be relieved from the administration of the Diocese in the background of the court’s opinion in favour of Bishop Franco, which says, there is a lack of adequate evidence for the Bishop’s arrest, indicating his innocence. He decided on his own to make the request to the Holy Father. He is confident that his request will be accepted by the Vatican,” the statement read.
These developments come at a time when some of the sisters of the Kuravilangad convent have been protesting near the Kochi High Court, demanding the arrest of the Bishop. The protest, which is entering its 11th day on Wednesday, has received support from various people, including activists, artists, politicians and the general public.
Survivor Nun’s Sister Joins Hunger Strike
Several people have been outraged at the lack of action against Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal who has been accused of raping a 44-year-old nun from the Missionaries of Jesus in Kerala, multiple times between 2014 and 2016, TNM reported.
While 85-year-old Jose Joseph of the Joint Christian Council and farmer Stephen Mathew have been on a hunger strike since September 9 demanding the arrest of the bishop, the sister of the rape survivor nun has also joined the hunger strike.
Earlier, she was one of the five nuns who took to protests after the police had refused to arrest the bishop.
The victim first approached the police earlier this year in June, after the Catholic Church failed to take any action on her complaint. Bishop Mulakkal was booked by cops under section 376 (punishment for rape) under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), but no arrest was made. Following this, five nuns from the Missionaries of Jesus in Kottayam district decided to protest to demand the bishop’s arrest.
The Missionaries of Jesus had earlier come out and spoken against the nun and even proceeded to reveal her identity, in direct violation of the law. They claimed that the nun had been seen in public with the bishop on the day after the alleged sexual assault and sought to trivialise her complaint against the bishop.
(With inputs from TNM and ANI)
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