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'Cannot Crucify Innocent Soul': Protesting Kerala Nuns' Congregation Defends Rape Accused Bishop

'Cannot Crucify Innocent Soul': Protesting Kerala Nuns' Congregation Defends Rape Accused Bishop

In a statement, the congregation has refuted the charges against Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar diocese, calling them “completely baseless”.

As a group of nuns in Kerala continue with their protests against a rape accused Bishop, the Missionaries of Jesus Congregation on Monday said “an innocent soul” cannot be crucified “based on such allegations”.

In a statement, the congregation to which the protesting nuns belong, said, “We strongly condemn the protest in Kochi. We cannot crucify an innocent soul based on such allegations.”

The group has further refuted the charges against Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar diocese as “completely baseless”.

The protest by Catholic reformation organisations against alleged laxity in the probe into the rape complaint by a nun against the Bishop entered the second day on Sunday with a group of five nuns accusing top police officials of trying to sabotage it.

The nuns from a convent in Kottayam, to which the 'rape' survivor belonged, slammed the reported move to hand over the probe against Bishop Franco Mulakkal to the crime branch wing.

Rejecting the rape charges, the congregation said, “We doubt the nuns are being forced into this protest by some external influence.”

“The allegations of rape are totally baseless. During the time the nun alleged that she was raped, we could see that she was coordinating the bishop's programmes in Kerala. She alleged that she was raped on May 5, 2014, but even after that the bishop participated in functions at her house on her invitation,” the statement read.

The bishop has been accused of rape and unnatural sex with the complainant 13 times between 2014 and 2016.

A special team probing the case has said that according to preliminary investigations, Bishop Franco abused his position and repeatedly raped the nun.

Responding to a petition seeking a speedy probe, DSP Subhash had informed the high court on August 13 that the probe was proceeding effectively and impartially.

One of the protesting nuns at Kuravilangadu in Kottayam district said, "We have full faith in the investigation being carried out by the Deputy Superintendent of Police. But the top police officials are not giving him permission to take the bishop into custody and do his custodial interrogation.

"They are not allowing him to carry out a free and fair investigation. They are delaying the probe and trying to sabotage the case.”

Meanwhile, an Independent MLA on Saturday threw himself into the controversy by making outrageous remarks against the nun who alleged rape against the bishop.

Addressing a press conference in Kottayam, Poonjar MLA PC George sought to know the nun had not complained in the initial stage of sexual misbehaviour by the bishop. Not just that, he went on to raise questions on her “character” as well.

The nuns said they have decided to initiate legal action against PC George for using abusive language against the victim.

Meanwhile, the family members of the affected nun also said they have full faith in the probe by the DSP and were planning to approach the Kerala High Court seeking a court-monitored investigation.

"We have full faith in the investigation officer," one of the family members told reporters.

Kerala Director General of Police Loknath Behera, however, said there was no move at present to hand over the investigation to the crime branch.

Catholic reformation organisations, including the Kerala Catholic Church Reformation Movement, are taking part in the indefinite protest seeking justice to the nun, KCRM office-bearer George Joseph said on Sunday.

(With inputs from PTI)

first published:September 10, 2018, 17:04 IST