The rape accused Christian priest Bishop Franco Mulakkal seems to have strong backing from the Kerala Communist government as the Pinarayi Vijayan government has transferred two police officers who were probing against the Bishop.
According to the reports, Kottayam Superintendent of Police Harishankar and Vaikom Deputy SP Subash, who were the investigating officers in the Bishop Franco’s rape case have been issued marching orders by the state government raising serious questions about possible attempts to sabotage the investigation.
Harishankar and Subash were responsible for the arrest of the rape accused Bishop Franco after a serious interrogation. The two main investigating officials have now been transferred to low key posts raising serious doubts on the intentions of the Kerala government to provide justice for the rape victims.
Reportedly, the rape victims and their supporters, who stood against Bishop Franco are now in a sense of deep shock and despair. Sister Anupama, one of the five nuns who led the protests against Franco in August 2018, said that Bishop Franco’s political and financial influence was behind these transfers. “We are in a state of shock after learning about the transfers. This is worrisome,” she told the media.
“The trial in the case began only last month [May 10] and we fear DySP K Subash Kumar’s transfer will affect the case. There have been many attempts to silence some witnesses. His transfer at this stage raises many doubts,” said Sister Anupama.
The Kerala government seems to be trying very hard to sabotage the rape case against Bishop Franco. The Kerala government has also conveniently appointed a CPI(M) member CS Ajayan as the Defence Attorney for Franco Mulakkal, in addition to two other lawyers.
The Pinarayi Vijayan government has strongly stood behind the rape accused Bishop Franco and has now caused a huge controversy after it withdrew its decision to award a cartoonist, who had expressed his opinion on rape accused Bishop Franco through his art form. The state government had decided to withdraw the award given to the cartoonist Subhas. State Culture Minister AK Balan after examining the cartoon had confirmed that it hurt religious sentiments.
Franco Mulakkal, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Jalandhar, was accused of raping a 44-year-old nun at a guest house in Kuravilangad in May 2014 and subsequent sexual exploitations afterwards. The nun had registered a complaint in June 2018 and has also claimed that despite her complaints, the church took no action on the bishop.
The congregation had also stood by the rape accused and referred to him as an “innocent soul”. The Malankara Orthodox Church had been supporting the rape accused Bishop and attempts were also made to vilify the victim nun.
Despite the initial delay in the arrest of the Bishop, Kerala police acted subsequently upon the incriminating pieces of evidence present against Bishop Franco Mulakkal of the Archdiocese of Jalandhar, Punjab, for allegedly raping a nun from Kerala on multiple occasions. Rape accused Bishop Franco was granted conditional bail in the case on October 15 in the case.
After his release, Bishop Franco was given a grand welcome in Jalandhar where people had arrived in large numbers. Since his release, the Missionaries of Jesus has attempted to silence those four nuns for supporting the victim nun who had accused Bishop Franco of rape.
The four nuns who had supported the rape survivor nun were asked to leave the Kuravilangad convent, and go to convents, previously assigned to them. Shockingly, apart from threats and intimidation, Father Kuriakose who had testified against Bishop Franco was found dead under mysterious circumstances.