There seems to be no end to the ordeal the nuns who protested against rape-accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal are facing. Four of the five nuns who supported their fellow rape survivor nun have been asked to leave the Kuravilangad convent. In an effort to isolate the nuns, and to break their collective strength, each of them has been asked to return to the convent they were previously assigned by the Missionaries of Jesus.
The Church had ordered the transfers in a letter dated January 10, 2019. Here's the notice:
The above letter accuses the nuns of 'issuing malafide public statements' as well as accuses them of 'circulating baseless stories'. As per the letter, the nuns are trying to 'tarnish the images of MJ congregation by disobeying congregation instructions.'
Earlier in the case, the Syro Malabar Catholic Church, which has been under the spotlight over the controversy swirling around Kerala nun rape case accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal, has published a statement in its monthly newsletter imploring devotees to boycott the media.
In the December edition of its newsletter Catholicasabha, the Syro Malabar Catholic Church published an article titled ‘Sabhaykkethire Goodalochana: Viswasikal Madhyamangal Behishkarikum’ (Conspiracy against Church: Devotees will boycott media). The article specifically called out two media organisations which it alleged have been involved in “conspiring” against the church.
On October 22, 2018, key witness in the Kerala nun rape case, Father Kuriakose Kattuthara of Jalandhar Diocese, was found dead under mysterious circumstances at his residence. The brother of the deceased, Jose Kattuthara had made stunning allegations against rape accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal and his supporters. While speaking exclusively to Republic TV, he said that Father Kuriakose Kattuthara was tortured physically and mentally for speaking against the Bishop.
“Father had conducted a Press Conference. Even before the PC he faced problems, they had been sidelining him because of this problem. These Sisters used to confess before the Father about their problem. Because of this they were against the Father. Even the Rs. 500 they used to give to the Father was denied to him. They had enmity against him. They tortured him mentally and physically, they sent goons to intimidate him. When the Father had given an interview to a media channel, the Bishop directly went to the church and tried to intimidate others and showed goondaism. When Father gave a statement to the Police against the Bishop, they destroyed his house,” said the deceased Father’s brother.
Prior to Father Kuriakose Kattuthara death, the rape accused, Bishop Franco Mulakkal was granted a conditional bail on October 15, following which he received a hero's welcome in Jalandhar on the very next day. This was the Bishop's second attempt to get the bail.
Earlier in September, his first attempt for bail was quashed by the court, and he was sent to judicial custody till October 6 by Pala Judicial Magistrate Court. Last week, further woe awaited Bishop Franco as a Kerala court extended his judicial custody till October 20.
The Bishop was arrested by the police on September 21, 87 days after a complaint was filed against him. It was preceded by three days of grilling by the Investigative agencies and a medical examination.