On the same day when, for the first time in the history of Catholic Church in India, five nuns came out in the open to protest inaction against Bishop Franco Mulakkal, another man broke his silence on the same. Only, this one was slanderous, offensive and downright disgusting.
PC George, an independent MLA from Poonjar, questioned the charges made by a rape survivor who accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal of raping her between 2014-16.
In her police complaint filed in June this year, the survivor alleged that she had filed multiple complaints about her trauma to the church, but no action was taken, and the harassment continued, forcing her to approach the police. Over seventy-five days since then, the accused continues to relish his liberty, interrogated just once whereas the complainant has been questioned several times by the Kottayam police.
On September 8, when PC George challenged why the complainant was silent for two years and didn’t complain earlier, he stirred nation-wide outrage. His remarks thereafter, not worth repeating, was a new low, even for him, given his track record.
In 2017, he had come out in support of actor Dileep and maligned his estranged wife Manju Warrier. As George had continued to defame the victim in that case too, numerous complaints had been filed against him, even with the Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the speaker of Kerala assembly had admonished him.
In another infamous incident the same year, George had come out in support of encroachers of Mundakkam Vellanadi estate and had pulled out his pistol to threaten the protesting estate workers.
A complaint had also been lodged against George by an employee of government canteen for allegedly slapping him for bringing in his food late in the hostel.
PC George holds the distinction for being the first MLA in Kerala whose comments were reprimanded after he made insensitive remarks on the floor of the house.
The National Commission for Women (NCW) chief Rekha Sharma told media on September 9 that she will write to the DG and IGP of Kerala demanding action against George.
As reports suggest that the complainant planned to hold a press conference over the weekend, breaking her silence for the first time, the strategic muckraking by PC George seems to have served its purpose: shun her from revealing the facts of the case and with that, tumble out more skeletons.
As the police drag their feet on arresting Bishop Franco Mulakkal, the nuns who took to streets to stage a protest in front of Kerala High Court demanded immediate action. At a risk to their safety and lives, the nuns spoke out against a mighty Bishop, only to ensure that the survivor gets justice and she and her family are not further traumatised.
When people with influence like PC George are allowed to get away scot-free, as they have in the past, more rape survivors will be deterred from speaking up and complaining about the crimes meted out against them.