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Kept Under House Arrest, Complains Kerala Nun Who Turned Witness Against Rape-accused Bishop Franco

On being asked why she was being ostracised, members of the convent allegedly told sister Lissy Vadakkel that they were following orders from their superiors.

Neethu Reghukumar | CNN-News18

Updated:December 4, 2019, 10:19 AM IST
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Kept Under House Arrest, Complains Kerala Nun Who Turned Witness Against Rape-accused Bishop Franco
File photo of Bishop Franco Mulakkal (PTI)

Thiruvananthapuram: Sister Lissy Vadakkel, who is a witness in the case where a Kerala nun was allegedly raped multiple times by Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal, has claimed that she been ostracised and not being involved in any activities by the congregation.

The rape survivor nun had disclosed her ordeal to Sister Lissy. Following Sister Lissy's statement to the police, she was ostracised by the congregation and transferred to convent in Vijayawada where she was confined to a single room, her mobile was taken away and she was not allowed to communicate with anyone. She had finally approached the court, asking that she be allowed to stay in the convent in Kerala till the trial gets over.

"This is a house arrest. I am an evangelist but I’m not able to go anywhere and do the prayers. People in my convent are not involving me in any activities…they behave like I’m not part of them. This is happening because the priests are close to Bishop Franco Mullackal and enjoy influence among the higher authorities. I had asked the court to let me stay here till the end of trial and they allowed me to stay here under the witness protection,” Sister Lissy told CNN-News18.

Sister Lissy had given her statement to the police against Bishop Franco in the sexual abuse case. She had also approached the court and has been staying in the convent in Muvattupuzha under police protection for several months.

On being asked why she was being ostracised, members of the convent allegedly told her they were following orders from their superiors.

“What hurts the most is that I’m not able to perform my duties as a nun. I only go to the church for the mass, otherwise I just pray in my room. When I go out the people living near the convent and other nuns avoid me. But I have forgiven the authorities for their behaviour towards me," she said.

The 56-year-old nun said she won’t change her statement. "I’m giving the statement because I know the truth. I have a personal relationship with the complainant nun from 2011. The nuns should get justice, I’m with her. I’m praying that she gets justice," she said.

Mulakkal was arrested on September 21 last year on charges of rape and got bail on October 16 2018.

The Kerala Police has already filed a 1,400-page chargesheet in the court against him and it names 83 witnesses, including the Cardinal of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, Mar George Alencherry, three bishops, 11 priests and many nuns.

After the case came to light, Mulakkal was removed as head of the diocese of Jalandhar.

The pretrial proceedings in the case, including framing of charges of the accused, will begin on January 6.

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