Father Kuriakose’s family retracts earlier statement, says won’t go for second autopsy

Father Kuriakose’s brother Jose Kattuthara had alleged that Father Kuriakose had been killed for giving statements against Bishop Franco Mulakkal.

The family members of Kuriakose Kattuthara have retracted their desire for a second post-mortem done on the body. Kuriakose was a 60-year-old priest who had spoken vigorously against the rape accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal, and was found dead in Bhogpur in Jalandhar under mysterious conditions. Initially, the family had expressed their desire for a second post-mortem, if they were not satisfied with the police probe. On Wednesday they said that now they do not want a second post-mortem.

“We are satisfied with the post-mortem conducted in Punjab and, therefore, will not go for another in Kerala,” said John Thomas, the deceased priest’s cousin.

Father Kuriakose, a native of Kerala’s Allepy, had given a statement to the police against the rape accused Bishop Franco and stood in solidarity with the nuns who were demanding Bishop Franco’s arrest.

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Father Kuriakose’s brother, Jose Kattuthara while speaking to Mathrubhumi news has put forth his suspicions, regarding his brother’s death and casting aspersions on the ‘natural death’ theory, he alleged that Father Kuriakose had been killed for giving a statement against Bishop Franco Mulakkal.

Jose Kattuthara, in the complaint lodged with Punjab’s Dasuya Police, has further alleged that his brother was harassed mentally and physically at Mulakkal’s behest.

On the basis of his complaint, the police had initiated a probe. The body was handed over to the family on Tuesday after the post-mortem conducted by a board of four doctors, the entire procedure was video recorded.

When John was asked whether they think the death was natural, he said, “We will wait for the autopsy report and after that, we will see if it natural or not.”

The principal of the St Paul Convent School Sister Lisabeth had confirmed that Fr Kuriakose had differences with Mulakkal. She was the first who saw Fr Kuriakose’s body in his room. But the officials of the Jalandhar diocese have rubbished the allegations of the deceased priest’s family. The officials allege that they are under the influence of another group who have contrived a story to malign bishop Mulakkal’s image and to get his bail canceled.

Diocese spokesperson Father Peter asserted that if the police trace the phone calls of the two it would be clear that the Bishop did not threaten or pressurised the priest, as his family members claimed.

When asked whether Kuriakose’s residence or vehicle was ever vandalised as have been claimed, David Gill, who was a driver of the priest when he was posted in Bhogpur, said that no such incident took place.

Father Kuriakose worked as a priest and teacher at the Jalandhar diocese and had supported the Missionaries of Jesus nun, who had accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal of rape. In an earlier interview to Mathrubhumi, Father Kuriakose had claimed that he was constantly threatened by church officials for standing against the rape accused Bishop.

However when he died the police recovered blood pressure tablets from the spot and it was found that he had vomited over the bed. The police had further said that no injuries were found on him.

Bishop Franco, Archdiocese of Jalandhar, Punjab, was arrested by the police officials on September 21 after the investigating team finally found evidence that linked him in the sexual harassment case. He was given a grand welcome in Jalandhar after being granted conditional bail on October 15.

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