In a statement released on Friday, Jalandhar’s Missionaries of Jesus continued its campaign against the nun who accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal of rape defending its earlier decision of declaring the clergyman innocent.
“For every rape victim, meeting the offender after the incident is like dying. How could the nun and the Bishop travel together over 20 times between 2014-16? It’s clear that complaint is backed by lies and is fabricated,” the statement issued by Missionaries of Jesus read.
“No rape victim will want to see the place where she was raped,” the church body claimed while revealing the room number where the nun is currently staying.
Earlier today, the Missionaries of Jesus said that the nun conspired against the bishop. In a brazen move, the Missionaries also revealed the name of the nun and released her picture to the media. Indian laws prohibit revealing the identity of rape and sexual assault victims.
“The nun who has complained against the bishop has conspired in connivance with nine others, including five nuns, against the bishop,” the Church body said in a statement after conducting what it calls an “internal investigation”.
The congregation added that the nuns have been influenced by some other people to do this.
The church body’s statement came a day after Kerala High Court said that the Bishop was not required to be arrested. On Thursday, the HC expressed satisfaction in the ongoing probe as it observed that since it was an old case, the probe and the investigation would take time and “not the arrest but final punishment of the accused is more important”.
Apart from hearing two petitions on the case, it also heard a third petition seeking a Central Bureau Investigation (CBI) probe into it, and said that at present that would not be granted and posted the matter for next hearing on 24 September.
Bishop Franco Mulakkal of the Roman Catholic Diocese in Jalandhar has been served a notice to appear before the probe team on 19 September.
A Division Bench headed by the Chief Justice Hrishikesh Roy after going through the affidavit of the Kerala Police probe team said that it was not proper to put pressure on the police as it could create hindrance to a free probe.
A Kerala nun has accused Mulakkal of repeatedly sexually abusing her between 2014 and 2016. There are five other nuns of the same congregation who has supported her claim.
An FIR was registered against the bishop and a 114-page detailed statement was taken from the nun and other inmates of the convent.
Meanwhile, an office bearer of Kerala Catholic Church Reform Movement (KCRM) said it would initiate legal action against the congregation for disclosing the identity of the victim.
He said the Supreme Court had recently observed that the identity of rape victims should not be revealed as they have the right to privacy and cannot live with such “stigma” all their lives.
(With agency inputs)