Kerala Police Files Chargesheet In Rape Accused Franco Mullakkal Case
After a whole year has passed from when a nun accused Bishop Franco Mullakkal of repeated rape, the Kerala Police investigating the case has finally submitted the chargesheet, on Tuesday. The Kottayam police told the media that they filed the chargesheet with the Judicial First Class Magistrate, Pala.
Sister Anupama who has been one of those protesting for the rights of the survivor told News18 that they feel “relieved and happy” because their efforts have resulted successfully. “After months of struggle, we are very happy that this is finally happening. This is proof that God is with us and truth will prevail,” she said.
The survivor, who is a 44-year-old woman, filed a complaint against bishop Franco Mullakkal, the head of the Latin diocese of Jalandhar in June last year in which she had alleged that Mullakkal had raped her 13 times between 2014 and 2016 at the church guest house in Kuzhavilangad. She also alleged that the Catholic Church neglected her complaints and did not take any action in the case. It was only after the church hierarchy ignored her voice along with the resistance from several nuns who supported her, they all staged protests against the Catholic church exposing the Church’s misogyny and patriarchal structure.
All the nuns from Kerala along with the survivor are still outside the Kuzhavilangad home protesting against the lackadaisical action in the case. In March, they wrote a petition to push the Kottayam police to file the chargesheet quickly.
While the nuns ask for the expulsion of Mullakkal from the Church hierarchy, he has categorically denied the charges levelled by the survivor against him. He was initially arrested by the Kottayam police after the nun accused him but came out on bail in three months in October. The pope also expelled him from the church after which he asked the nuns to return to their respective convents. But the nuns believe that if they leave the survivor nun alone then she might be tortured furthermore. Hence, they wrote to Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan asking him to intervene if it came down to their leaving the convent.
Standing with the survivor has cost the nuns’ threat letters from the church. The church congregation is reportedly releasing letters to threaten them to change their statement. One of the nuns, who protested against priests sexually assaulting nuns, has received three warning letters, threatening that she would be expelled from the congregation unless she changes her mind.
After months of struggle, we are very happy that this is finally happening. This is proof that God is with us and truth will prevail.
In the letter, the Congregation accused Sister Lucy Kalapura, belonging to St Mary’s province at Mananthavady, of leading a life which was against the “principles of religious life” and the rules of the congregation.
She told the media that the congregation asked her either to leave the congregation of her own accord or be ousted from it by the authorities. “It’s sad that the church has asked me to leave the congregation. I joined the church when I was 17 and I have lived a life following all the principles of religious life.
I don’t have any other life. My reply to the second warning letter earlier was very clear. I have explained my stand,” she said.
Picture credit- Madhyamam