Priests join stir against bishop in Kerala nun rape case

The priests who addressed the protesters said the agitation launched by the nuns was not against the church, but for justice.

Published: 16th September 2018 06:36 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th September 2018 06:36 AM   |  A+A-

Priests who came to support the protest by nuns demanding the arrest of Bishop Franco Mulakkal, at High Court Junction in Kochi on Saturday. The nuns have been protesting for the past eight days | Express

By Express News Service

KOCHI:  The agitation launched by five nuns demanding the arrest of Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal gained momentum on Saturday as a groups of priests from the Syro-Malabar Church’s Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese arrived at the protest venue pledging allegiance to the agitation. 

On the eighth day of the protest, eight priests led by the former spokesperson of the Syro-Malabar Church Fr Paul Thelakkat arrived at Vanchi Square, the protest venue near High Court Junction. Later, priests from the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church also joined the protest, indicating the growing support to the nuns’ agitation.

Though the Save Our Sisters Action Council had informed that priests and nuns from various congregations will arrive at the protest venue on Saturday, the organisers were not sure about the support from within the church. The priests who arrived at the venue included Fr Jose Parekattil, Fr Joicy Kaithakoottil, Fr Jimmu Kakkattuchira, Fr Benny Maraparambil, Fr Kurian Kurisinkal, Fr Paul Chittilapally, Fr Tony Kallookaran, Fr Rajan Punnakikal and Fr Cherian Varghese. Sr Teena Jose and Sr Emilda were among the nuns who pledged support to the protest. 

The priests who addressed the protesters said the agitation launched by the nuns was not against the church, but for justice. The priests also participated in the standing protest at High Court Junction. The news that Bishop Franco has handed over the charge of Jalandhar diocese to his second-in-command in view of the ongoing probe in the case by Kerala police had created an impression the nuns will withdraw the protest. However, Sr Anupama said the protest will continue until he was questioned and arrested by the police. She said handing over the charge of the diocese was a normal practice when the bishop travels outside the diocese.

Congress provides moral support to nun: Hassan
KPCC president M M Hassan has said the party will provide moral support to the nun who was allegedly abused by Bishop Franco Mulakkal. Hassan said the Congress as a whole is giving total support to the agitating nuns. Asked why he has not turned up at the venue of the agitating nuns, Hassan said: “We are giving moral support and several Congress leaders have visited the venue.” Regarding the arrest of the bishop, Hassan said, “It is for the police to take action.” Meanwhile, Hassan said there should be a police investigation into the allegations levelled against P K Sasi MLA.

Circulating nun’s photo: Women’s panel registers suo motu case
The State Women’s Commission has registered a suo motu case against those who circulated the photograph of the nun who filed sexual harassment complaint against Bishop Franco Mulakkal. The action was taken as per the directive of commission chairperson M C Josephine. In sexual harassment cases, displaying the victim’s photograph is illegal. Hence, there should be legal action against those who insulted the nun by circulating her photos, the commission demanded.

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