On this International Women’s Day, the Kerala Government should arrest Bishop Franco Mulakkal

Bishop Franco Mulakkal

How nicely everything has been forgotten. Excitable liberal anchors, out each evening to guide the public consciousness in the moral direction, have almost forgotten that this hangs over the national conscience.

I can barely make out Bishop Franco Mulakkal’s face anywhere in this photo. Can you? Because he has been mobbed by a sea of eager welcoming faces, out with flowers, garlands, cries of joy and coloured powder to welcome their rape accused hero.

Eager welcoming liberal faces. Shining with the holy light of Indian ‘secularism’.

Look at him. Is that a halo around his head?

No, he is actually wearing three levels of armour that protect him from all the outrage of the secular liberal class in India: He works for the Catholic Church, he is accused of committing rape in Communist-ruled Kerala and he has currently taken up residence in Congress-ruled Punjab.

Who can touch him? There is a saying in Bihar’s rural dialect: More saiyyan bhaye kotwal to ab dar kaahe ka? I won’t translate it. Because the full emotion behind these words would get lost in translation.

In case you have forgotten (because powerful secular forces in this country very much want you to forget) let me recount briefly the Bishop Franco Mulakkal case.

It took 3 months from the time the nun filed a rape complaint to merely arrest the Bishop.

Much more than any celebrity or billionaire, it is Bishop Mulakkal case that made our legal system look like a joke. The Catholic Church was even more arrogant. Forget taking action against the Bishop, they did nothing… until Mulakkal himself “requested” to be “temporarily relieved” of his duties.

And within days of his arrest:

He walked out on bail to a boisterous welcome by all his supporters. The grand moment for Indian secularism and liberalism.

Other people, however, were not so lucky. Here is a completely unrelated matter.

As I said, this was clearly a totally unrelated matter as a result of which the media took little or no interest in the issue. Our media had bigger issues to worry about. Such as right-wing internet trolls. They were on the prowl for any roadside goon who has put on a saffron shirt, thus making PM Modi personally accountable for his actions.

Another unrelated matter that the nuns who protested against the Bishop received transfer orders from the Congregation.

Bishop Franco Mulakkal is still a free man today. Still a revered man. Still a hero.

And our Indian secularism and liberalism is still a joke.

Nobody in Indian media was willing to touch this story from the US-based Associated Press. Were they scared? Who knows?

This International Women’s Day, let us not treat women simply as the “Virgin Mary”. Let us give female victims of sexual assault a chance to be believed and treated with respect in the public sphere. Let their voices be heard. Even if it means that the facade of pseudo-secularism will come crashing down.

Abhishek Banerjee: Abhishek Banerjee is a math lover who may or not be an Assistant Professor at IISc Bangalore. He is the author of Operation Johar - A Love Story, a novel on the pain of left wing terror in Jharkhand, available on Amazon here.  
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