Support grows for nuns agitating for Bishop Franco Mulakkal's arrest

Expressing solidarity with the protest, several voluntary organisations, including Network of Artistic Theatre Activists Kerala (NATAK), joined the dharna at Vanji Square at High Court junction here.

Published: 17th September 2018 03:17 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th September 2018 03:17 AM   |  A+A-

NATAK secretary J Shailaja speaks at the protest against Franco Mulakkal in Kochi on Sunday | Melton Antony

By Express News Service

KOCHI: The protest launched by nuns demanding the arrest of Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal gained further momentum on its ninth day on Sunday with more people from various sections of society turning up at the venue extending their support to the agitation.

Expressing solidarity with the protest, several voluntary organisations, including Network of Artistic Theatre Activists Kerala (NATAK), joined the dharna at Vanji Square at High Court junction here.
Meanwhile, the health condition of Stephen Mathew, a social activist and member of the Joint Christian Council (JCC), who was on an indefinite hunger strike to express solidarity with the nuns’ protest, worsened and was shifted to the General Hospital here on Sunday.

However, social activist Aloshiya Joseph replaced Stephen Mathew by starting hunger strike at the protest venue. The worsened health condition of Stephen Mathew forced him to end his hunger strike, said activist C R Neelakandan.

“There has been a drastic dip in his blood pressure and he was not able to stand on his feet properly. Since he was reluctant to end the strike, the police had to arrest him and shift him to the hospital,” said Neelakandan. Terming the nun’s incident a great tragedy, J Shailaja, secretary of NATAK ad-hoc committee, Kerala, said: “Men should not treat women as mere sex objects.”

Shailaja also lashed out at the remarks made by P C George MLA against the nun. “We should be ashamed of living in a state where such shameless people live,” she said.NATAK members said they are planning to organise street plays in several parts of the city to make people aware of the gravity of the situation.

“We are planning to conduct skits and folk songs in the coming days to include more people in our protest against the bishop,” said Swapnesh, a member of NATAK.

Anupama George, another social activist who has been associated with the nuns’ protest, said the bishop should be brought before the law.“Justice must be served and we will continue the protest till the bishop is punished by the law,” she said.

Sr Julie George, a women’s rights lawyer who belongs to the Congregation of Missionary Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit, said that nuns go through several such stages in life and most of the times, they hesitate to speak up. Such atrocities must be ended, she said.

Victim’s sister to go on hunger strike
Kochi: In order to strengthen the protest against Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal, the sister of the victim nun will launch an indefinite hunger strike from Monday. Save our Sisters (SOS) Action Council announced the decision at a press meet held at High Court Junction here on Sunday. They also said that a statewide 24-hour protest will be held in different districts from Monday. “With the intensifying protest in the state, the government and law officials must take necessary steps to arrest the bishop,” said SOS Action Council convener Fr Augustine Vattoli.

Kalamandalam Gopi extends support
Kochi: Kathakali maestro Kalamandalam Gopi has come out in support of the protesting nuns, saying the sisters — who have sacrificed their personal life by leaving their loved ones in pursuit of divinity — should get justice. In a statement here, Kalamandalam Gopi said people should discard their ego and join the protest by the nuns, which entered the ninth day on Sunday. He said due to his failing health, he was not in a position to be physically present at the venue of the protest at High Court Junction.

Gowri Amma supports nuns’ protest
Kochi: Janathipathiya Samrakshana Samithy general secretary K R Gowri Amma expressed her solidarity with the protesting nuns, saying the culprit should be brought to justice even if he is high and mighty. “I wish your fight for justice all success,” she wrote in a letter to the nuns.

Stating that she was writing the letter with “deep pain”, Gowri Amma said she wanted to participate in their fight, but couldn't because of her poor health. “I have great respect for Christian priests and nuns. Their contribution, especially in the education sector, is well chronicled. All these are getting relegated into the background due to this rare controversy,” she wrote. The state should undertake a detailed probe to bring the culprit to justice, she added.

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