Members of various catholic reformation organisations took to the streets in Kochi on Saturday to protest the alleged laxity in the probe into a complaint of rape filed by a nun against a Roman Catholic church bishop.
Five nuns from a convent in Kottayam, to which the victim belonged, also took part in the demonstration and alleged that the victim had been denied justice by the church, police and the government as no action has been initiated against accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar diocese.
“We are not getting justice from the police, church authorities and the government. That is why we thought of conducting this protest. If the accused would have been a layman, then they would have arrested him easily. However, he belongs to higher authority and has money. So, they are denying the arrest,” a nun said.
She sought to know why Bishop Franco has not been arrested despite sufficient evidence against him and also questioned the Church’s stand on the matter.
“Seventy-four days have passed since the complaint was made against Bishop Franco. The police recorded her statements several times. But the accused bishop was interrogated only once,” the nun said.
They alleged that the police probing the case was trying to sabotage the investigation.
Catholic reformation organisations, including Kerala Catholic Church Refomation Movement (KCRM), took part in the protest, KCRM office-bearer George Joseph said, adding some organisations, including KCRM, were planning to continue the stir till justice is delivered in the case.
In her complaint filed at Kuravilangad Police Station, the victim had alleged that she had received death threats from unknown people two months ago. The nun has accused Jalandhar Bishop Franco of raping and having unnatural sex with her multiple times between 2014 and 2016.
A special team probing the case has said according to preliminary investigation, Bishop Franco abused his position and repeatedly raped the nun.
Responding to a petition seeking speedy probe, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Kottayam, K Subhash had informed the Kerala High Court on August 13 that the probe was proceeding effectively and impartially.
The police, in a statement based on initial investigation and available evidence, had said it was found that the Bishop allegedly committed unnatural offence and raped the nun against her will.
In June, a case was registered against four priests of Malankara Orthodox Church for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman in Kottayam. The accused allegedly threatened to disclose the victim’s confessions made in church.
The incident came to light when the victim’s husband recovered an audio clip related to the case, following which an investigation was initiated by the church. The church later suspended all the priests after a complaint was filed.
One out of the four accused priests in the case surrendered on July 12.
(With inputs from agencies)
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