Demand for Jalandhar bishop's arrest mounts

Representatives of major parties come out in support of protesting nuns

Updated - September 10, 2018 08:00 am IST

Published - September 09, 2018 11:27 pm IST - Thiruvananthapuram

 Former judge of Kerala High Court Kemal Pasha at a meeting organised in support of the demand for the arrest of Jalandhar bishop Franco Mulakkal in Kochi on Sunday.

Former judge of Kerala High Court Kemal Pasha at a meeting organised in support of the demand for the arrest of Jalandhar bishop Franco Mulakkal in Kochi on Sunday.

The agitation by the Joint Christian Council demanding the arrest of Jalandhar bishop Franco Mulakkal, accused of raping a nun, got a fresh momentum on its second day on Sunday when prominent personalities came out against the government’s inaction. Five nuns had joined the protest on Saturday.

Former Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan extended his support to the agitation and cautioned the State government against delaying the bishop’s arrest since it would erode people’s confidence in the law. “The fact that the nun was relentlessly questioned and pressured even while the bishop remained safe in his comfort zone has not gone down well with the people. The nuns were forced to protest only as the last resort,” he said.

Former judge’s take

Former High Court judge Kemal Pasha expressed solidarity with the protesters by participating in the agitation near the High Court Junction here. Mr. Pasha said the nuns had set a courageous example.

The hands of the police appeared to be tied and it was a shame that no action had been taken against the bishop so far, he said. This was not a fight against the Catholic Church but against grave injustice.

Addressing the protesters, P.T. Thomas, MLA, said Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, as Home Minister of the State, owed an explanation to the people of Kerala as to why there was no action yet against the bishop.

Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president M.M. Hassan said the nuns should get justice. “Their demand is genuine. They have the moral support of the Congress. The Congress is not against the Church, but against the crime committed by the bishop,” he said here on Sunday.

Communist Party of India (CPI) State secretary Kanam Rajendran supported the nuns’ protest, even as he expressed faith in the ongoing police probe against the bishop.

Mr. Rajendran told the media on Sunday that everyone had the right to democratically stage protests. However, he did not support the demand that the investigation be completed within a time-frame. “It cannot be demanded that evidence be collected within a time-frame since the incident occurred some time ago,” he added.

Priests in protest

More than a dozen Catholic nuns and priests participated in the protest meeting on Sunday. Father Augustine Vattoli said the Catholic Church had become an ‘unashamed’ supporter of the rich and the powerful.

A group of protesters also burnt P.C. George, MLA, in effigy in protest against his remarks against the protesting nuns.

Kerala Rationalists’ Association members marched to the site of the protest in support of the nuns.

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