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Kerala Nuns 'Relieved and Happy' With Submission of Chargsheet Against Rape-accused Bishop Franco

File photo of Bishop Franco Mulakkal (PTI)

File photo of Bishop Franco Mulakkal (PTI)

The nuns, along with the rape survivor, had sent a petition to Kottayam police last month, asking them to speed up the chargesheet filing process.

New Delhi: The police probing the rape charges against Bishop Franco Mulakkal Tuesday filed a chargesheet in the case, almost a year after he was accused of raping a nun.

Kottayam police officials said the chargesheet will be submitted before the Judicial First Class Magistrate, Pala, in the afternoon. Speaking to News18, Sister Anupama, one of the protesting nuns, said they are relieved and happy now that their efforts have come through. “After months of struggle, we are very happy that this is finally happening. This is proof that God is with us and truth will prevail,” Anupama told News18

The Kerala nuns, along with the rape survivor, are still at the Kuzhavilangad home. Last month, they had sent a petition to Kottayam police, asking them to speed up the chargesheet filing process.

In June last year, a senior nun had alleged rape by Mulakkal, the head of the Latin diocese of Jalandhar. The nun said she was sexually assaulted multiple times since May 2014 at the church’s guest house in Kuruvilangad. She said that she had approached the church hierarchy but her repeated pleas were ignored, after which she decided to go the police. Her fellow nuns took to the streets, staged protests, thus forming what was possibly the biggest rebellion that India’s church had seen from the inside.

The nuns called out the male hegemony that existed in the church and demanded Mulakkal be stripped off his position and power. The protesting nuns said they knew of many other cases where women were exploited and yet the higher authorities decided to remain mum. After over two months of protest, police arrested Mulakkal. The Bishop spent three weeks behind bars but was granted bail in October. He was stripped off his position by the Pope. The group was, earlier this year, asked to return back to the convents they came from. Fearing for the survivor, who they believe will be tortured more if left without support, the sisters wrote to Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan asking him to interfere if it came down to their leaving the convent.

first published:April 09, 2019, 12:07 IST