After days of protest by nuns, the Kerala Police finally summoned Bishop Franco Mullakal of Jalandhar diocese to appear before the investigating team on 19 September. Bishop Mullakal has been accused by a nun of raping her.
Inspector General of police Vijay Sakhare said on Wednesday that the decision to summon Mullakal was taken in a meeting of top police officials following increasing pressure to initiate action against the clergyman.
The meeting was chaired by Sakhare and was attended by Kottayam District Superintendent of Police Harisankar and Vaikom Deputy Superintendent of Police K Subhash.
“Bishop Franco has been asked to appear on 19 September. There are a lot of contradictions in the case. This is an old case based primarily on oral evidence. We have verified a lot of contradictions. It’s our duty to protect the victim and witnesses,” IG Vijay Sakhare told reporters.
In July this year, the nun filed a complaint with the Kottayam district police chief, alleging that the Jalandhar Bishop had raped her and had unnatural sex with her multiple times at a small town near Kottayam between 2014 and 2016.
Mulakkal has claimed innocence calling the allegations as “baseless and concocted”, and said the truth will come out in the police investigation.
According to reports, the nun had recently sought urgent intervention of the Vatican for justice and demanded the bishop’s removal as the head of the Jalandhar diocese.
She has also questioned why the church was “closing its eyes to the truth” when she mustered courage to make public her sufferings.
In a scathing letter to the Vatican that was made available to the media Tuesday, the nun also asked whether the Church will be able to give back what she has lost. She alleged that Bishop Mulakkal was using “political and money power” to bury the case against him.
Meanwhile, Kerala’s Poonjar MLA PC George on Wednesday said that he should not have made derogatory remarks about the nun.
George had triggered a major controversy last week after he questioned the character of the nun and went on to call her a prostitute.
“Is there any doubt that the nun is a prostitute? 12 times it was pleasure, 13th time it became a rape? Where was she when it happened 12 times? Whom is she telling this to? Why did she not complain on the first time it happened? Let the three sisters be examined. Let us see if they are holy,” the lawmaker had said.
While talking to a news channel, George said today that it was not right to call a woman prostitute.
“I shouldn’t have called any woman a prostitute. That wasn’t the right thing to do,” he told NDTV. The MLA, however, said that he stands by his other statements.
“According to me she isn’t a nun. To refer to any woman as prostitute is wrong. I shouldn’t have used that word. But I strongly stand by other statements that I made regarding that woman,” he was later quoted as saying by ANI.
(With inputs from agencies.)