Journalists attempting to report on the police investigation and questioning of Bishop Franco Mulakkal on charges of rape were reportedly attacked by his guards at the Bishop House in Jalandhar, Punjab. According to reports, many journalists were manhandled and had their cameras and equipment damaged in the attack by the Bishop’s guards.
— News18 (@CNNnews18) August 13, 2018
According to reports, a team of Kerala Police is currently in Jalandhar to interrogate Bishop Franco. The Bishop was initially not there when the Kerala police team reached the Bishop House and he was reportedly in Chandigarh. But he was asked to come back for questioning and upon his arrival, the team from Kottayam in Kerala questioned him for almost nine hours.
When the Bishop arrived in his residence, his private security guards reportedly attacked the journalists present there. However, there are news reports stating that it was the Bishop’s supporters and ‘believers’ who attacked the journalists and prevented them from taking photographs. Many reporters even had their cameras damaged by the guards. The Kerala Association of working journalists has reportedly condemned the attack.
The police team led by Kottayam deputy SP K Subhash reportedly also seized his mobile phone. The police have reportedly stated arresting at this stage is not necessary as more scientific evidence is awaited in the case.
A police team from Kottayam has also questioned three nuns from the Mission of Jesus Sisters Convent a few days ago, including the mother superior, sister Regina. The nun who had accused the Bishop of rape was a member of the MJS.
Rape allegations against the Bishop had surfaced in June this year when a nun from Kerala accused him of raping her several times. The said nun had also alleged that even though she had approached the Syro-Malabar church with her allegations, no action was taken. The Bishop had claimed that the nun was blackmailing her after he removed her from an administrative position.
Recently, an audio tape had surfaced where it was alleged that a friend of Bishop Franco, Father James Erthayil was allegedly trying to bribe and threaten one of the nuns who stood in support of the victim.