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Bishop Franco Rape Case: Nuns supporting the victim to defy transfer order issued by Missionaries of Jesus

The four nuns have said that they will not comply with the transfer order, and continue to stay with the rape survivor nun

Sister Anupama, one of the four nuns served transfer notice, has slammed the notice and alleged that this is a ploy to break a unity of nuns to save Bishop Franco, who is facing rape allegations from one of their colleagues. On 16th  January, four out of the five nuns who supported the rape survivor nun were asked to leave the Kuravilangad convent, and go to convents, previously assigned to them. The letter accused nuns of  ‘issuing malafide statements’, and spreading baseless stories to ‘tarnish the image’ of the Missionaries of Jesus congregation.

On Wednesday, four of the five nuns who supported their fellow rape survivor nun — Sister Alphy Pallasseril, Sister Anupama Kelamangalathuveliyil, Sister Josephine Villoonnickal, and Sister Ancitta Urumbil —were asked to leave the convent in Kuravilangad. Each had been asked to return to the convent that they were previously assigned to by the Missionaries of Jesus. Accordingly, Sister Anupama who was at the forefront of the protests against Bishop Franco was asked to go to Chamiyari community in Punjab, which was assigned to her in March 2018. She has said that she will not comply with the transfer order, and continue to stay with the rape survivor nun, to support her in the legal battle. The other three nuns also have said that they will defy the transfer order.

“This is nothing but a vindictive transfer and the game plan of the Church is to split us to different places. Come what may, we will not move from here and we will be with the victim,” Sister Anupama was quoted by reports. She also added that survivor sister and supporting nuns have been subject to continued mental pressure. She also expressed fear if it continues nuns will face the same fate as that of Father Kuriakose, who was found dead last year in mysterious circumstances.

Sister Anupama alleged that Bishop Franco has great political backing and has enough money to ‘to take people in his pocket’.

The case had hit national headlines after a 44-year-old nun from Kerala had accused the Bishop Franco Mulakkal, the Bishop of the Diocese of Jalandhar, of raping her repeatedly in 2014 at a guesthouse in Kuravilangad and later on several occasions.

In the month of September in 2018,  the nuns of the Catholic Church Kerala had come forward to protest against the atrocities of Church. One the nuns who were protesting against the rape accused Bishop was relieved of her duties by the Syro-Malabar Church. The nun has accused that the action was taken against her because she stood for the truth.

Bishop Franco was arrested on September 21 last year and later released on bail. He is now based in Punjab.

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