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Kerala Nun Rape Case: Church official now says nuns who supported victim will not be transferred till court case is over

Recently, the National Commission for Women (NCW) had written to Kerala CM Vijayan to ensure the safety of the nuns who are the witness in the case against Franco Mulakkal and had stated that the CM's personal intervention is needed to prevent sabotage of material evidence and witnesses in the case.

Taking the note on the recent attempts by the Missionaries of Jesus congregation to threaten and oust the nuns, who had stood behind the victim nun and protested against the rape accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal, Bishop Agnelo of the Jalandhar diocese has directed the Missionaries of Jesus congregation to stop their transfer until the case reaches a conclusion.

Reportedly, Bishop Agnelo, Apostolic administrator in charge of the congregation has written a letter to the five nuns who had protested against Franco Mulakkal. The letter reads, “there will be no move from Diocese of Jalandhar to oust you from Kuravilangad Church as long as you are needed for the court case.”

According to a report in The Hindu, the Bishop has written a letter to the nuns stating that he was giving a directive to Regina Kadamthottu, Superior General of the Missionaries of Jesus congregation, not to issue any letters to the five nuns without his explicit permission.

“This will be an order to her from me as Apostolic Administrator in charge of the Congregation-since it is of Diocesan Right, it comes under me,” letter quoted according to the Hindu.

The letter has ensured the nuns would not be moved from the Kuravilangad Convent as long as they were needed for the court case. “The truth will only emerge when all the evidence is presented. I am sure the Church would want the truth to emerge,” it noted.

We had earlier reported on how attempts were made from the Missionaries of Jesus congregation to shunt out four nuns for supporting the victim nun who had accused Bishop Franco of rape.

The Missionaries of Jesus congregation had reportedly made several attempts to isolate, discredit and harass the nuns who stood in support of the victim. They had been ousted from the Kuravalingad convent and had also been threatened by the congregation to shed their “rebellious attitude”.

On 16th January, four out of the five nuns who had supported the rape survivor nun were asked to leave the Kuravilangad convent and go back 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. Sister Anupama, one of the four nuns served transfer notice had 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.

Apart from threats and intimidation, Father Kuriakose who had testified against Bishop Franco was found dead under mysterious circumstances. One of the nuns who was protesting against the rape accused Bishop was relieved of her duties by the Syro-Malabar Church.

Bishop Franco Mulakkal, Archdiocese of Jalandhar, Punjab, was arrested by the police officials on September 21st after the investigating team finally found evidence that linked him in the sexual harassment case. A nun from Kerala had accused a Bishop from Jalandhar of raping her. The accused, Franco Mulakkal, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Jalandhar, is said to have raped her at a guest house in Kuravilangad in May 2014 and exploited her sexually on several other occasions.

Franco Mulakkal was soon granted bail and his grand welcome by the Catholic organisation had caused outrage at many levels with suspicions that the religious congregation is putting its weight behind to shield the accused and vilify the victim.

Recently, the National Commission for Women (NCW) had written to Kerala CM Vijayan to ensure the safety of the nuns who are the witness in the case against Franco Mulakkal and had stated that the CM’s personal intervention is needed to prevent sabotage of material evidence and witnesses in the case.

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