Kerala nuns protest: ‘Fight will continue till Bishop Franco Mulakkal’s arrest’

Say govt stance on the issue not yet clear

Updated - September 16, 2018 10:34 pm IST

Published - September 15, 2018 10:07 pm IST - KOCHI

 Priests visiting the protesting nuns in Kochi on Saturday.

Priests visiting the protesting nuns in Kochi on Saturday.

The five nuns participating in the ongoing protest organised by the Save Our Sisters (SOS) Action Council against Bishop Franco Mulakkal, head of the Jalandhar diocese of the Catholic Church, have said that their agitation will end only after the bishop’s arrest for allegedly raping a nun.

Sister Anupama of the Missionaries of Jesus under the Jalandhar diocese said here on Saturday that the bishop’s decision to hand over charges to vicar general Mathew Kokkandam was a normal practice in the Church administration and it could not be considered as a victory for the agitation.

“Our fight is to ensure justice for the victim and it will continue till the bishop is arrested and interrogated by the investigating team,” she said at the Vanchi Square near the Office of the Inspector General, Kochi Range.

Sister Anupama pointed out that they were not fighting against the Church, the police and the government. The Church authorities had not supported us despite our repeated pleas seeking justice for the victim. V.S. Achuthanandan, former Chief Minister, had called us to extend support for our struggle. ‘‘We are not yet clear about the stance adopted by the government. However, we hope that the police will arrest the bishop,’’ she said.

Fr. Augustine Vattoly, convener of the council, said they would file a complaint before the Commissioner of Police, Kochi, seeking the arrest of those at the Missionaries of Jesus responsible for releasing a photograph of the victim seated with her alleged tormentor. This act was a punishable offence according to Section 228A of the IPC, he said.

A case was registered against the Missionaries of Jesus by the Kuravilangadu police in Kottayam district on a complaint filed by the alleged victim’s brother demanding action against those who had released her photo.

The support for the ongoing protest continued to pour in from various quarters. Eight priests led by Fr. Paul Thelakkat, former spokesperson of the Syro Malabar Church, visited the protest site and extended their support to the agitation. Fr. Thelakkat urged the Vatican to ensure justice to the protesting nuns and the victim.

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