A group of five nuns in Kerala, India, joined a public protest on Saturday (8 September) to demand the arrest of a bishop alleged to have raped a nun.
In June, a nun had complained that Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal had raped her 13 times, over a period of two years from May 2014. A case was registered by the Kottayam police on 28 June and Mulakkal is said to have been questioned last month.
On Saturday, in a protest organised by the joint Christian Council, the nuns and other protesters marched in protest to the High Court in Kochi, Kerala, holding placards and banners, UCAN news reports. The nuns say they have been denied justice by church authorities and police.
“More than 70 days have passed since the nun filed a police complaint against the bishop. We have given clinching evidences also. It seems police are reluctant to take action due to pressure. Church and police both let us down. Now, we pin our hopes on the judiciary,” said a nun who did not want to be named, UCAN news reports.
A second nun, Sister Anapurna, told local paper the Indian Express, that Bishop Franco has “political clout” in Kerala.
“He is using money to influence everyone,” she alleged.
George Joseph, working president of the Joint Christian Council, said the protest was against the state government and police. “The complainant nun needs justice from the government. Bishop Mulakkal should be arrested. Once he is arrested, the church would be forced to take action against him. Hence, it is the government that should act first,’’ he told the Indian Express.
A Kottayam Police Superintendent, SP Hari Sankar, told the paper that they do not have enough evidence to arrest the bishop.
“We have got some details from the statement of the nun and police are examining this,” he said.
He added that no other nun had filed evidence against the bishop and that there was not of yet any scientific evidence to substantiate the rape charges.
The nuns are said to be filing a petition to the High Court in Kerala today (Monday 10 September).
Bishop Mullakkal, appointed as the Auxillory Bishop of Delhi diocese in 2009 and made the Bishop of Jalandhar in 2013, is said to be cooperating with police.