Sister Anupama, who spearheaded the protests against Bishop Franco Mulakkal, who is accused of raping a nun for two years, was heckled and asked by some people to leave the cemetery where the funeral of the key witness in the rape case, Priest Kuriakose Kattuthara was taking place. Franco Mulakkal is the Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Jalandhar.
Father Kuriakose, a native of Kerala’s Allepy, was found dead under suspicious conditions three days back. He had given a statement to the police against Bishop Franco and stood in solidarity with the nuns who were demanding Bishop Franco’s arrest.
The post-mortem on the body was held at Jalandhar and body was airlifted to Kerala on Wednesday.
At the funeral which proceeded this evening, a section of the loyalists of the Bishop protested Anupama’s presence and asked her to leave the cemetery at St Mary’s Forane Church, Pallippuram in Cherthala, where Father Kuriakose Kattuthara was laid to rest.
Reacting to the incident, Anupama, who was accompanied by other nuns, broke down in front of the journalists whom she was addressing and said she was “deeply hurt” by the protests. “Father Kuriakose Kattuthara died while he was standing for the truth. He faced severe mental pressure. I am a member of this parish and I know him for many years. The father had been treating me like his daughter since I joined the convent. I don’t know why some people of my parish speaking against me. We will stand for truth whatever it takes,” she said.
News of Father Kuriakose’s death came soon after Bishop Franco reached Jalandhar from Kerala after he was released from jail. He was granted a conditional bail on October 15 and had received a rousing welcome from his followers and supporters when he returned to Jalandhar.
Father Kuriakose’s brother had earlier cast apprehensions on the ‘natural death’ theory and had alleged that Father Kuriakose had been killed for giving a statement against Bishop Franco Mulakkal. He had further alleged that his brother was harassed mentally and physically at Mulakkal’s behest.
Initially, the family had expressed their desire for a second post-mortem, if they were not satisfied with the police probe. On Wednesday, however, they retracted their statement saying that they did not want a second post-mortem.
The Kerala nun rape case had gained significance when a nun from Kerala had accused Father Franco Mulakkal, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Jalandhar, of raping her multiple times from 2014 to 2016. The nun has further alleged that she had approached the Syro-Malabar Church authorities over the matter but no action was taken against the Bishop which made her approach the Police.