The Catholic Church in India often has an eery silence when it comes to condemning acts of sexual violence by its own clergy but its Archbishops, Bishops and Priests find a strong voice to raise over alleged atrocities to the Christian community in the country. This hypocrisy of the Christian institution is glaring.
Bishop Franco Mulakkal of the Archdiocese of Jalandhar, Punjab has been accused of raping a nun. He did not rape her once but over multiple occasions from 2014 to 2016. Even as I write this article, Kerala Police have not yet decide to arrest the Bishop, because of instructions of some senior police officers and political leaders that have been reportedly putting pressure on the investigations officers to go slow on the case.
Interestingly, the investigation officers have actual nailed the lies of the accused Bishop from multiple sources. Such is the vile attempts of the Bishop and some priests close on instruction of the accused to cover the tracks of the multiple rape – offering bribes, issuing death threats and exercising political force – to get the victim to withdraw her complaint.
The act of the accused Bishop and those supporting his preposterous criminal act of inhumanity and that of a deviant nature instead one of holiness makes you question whether the Church is functioning as a mafia.
While it is clearly evident that Bishop Mulakkal is using every power at his disposal to evade his arrest. It is shocking to a common man like me the that entire Catholic Church of India has chosen to remain silent on the rape of a nun. The bishop raped the nun 14-times as reported in the complaint but no one in the Church cares raise its voice for justice and stepping in to ensure that the accused Bishop is suspended.
I remember when an elderly nun was raped at a school in 2015 by allegedly Hindu men in West Bengal, the entire Christian community in different Churches across states staged protests and demanded justice for the 71-year old nun. Archbishops, Bishops and Priests were extolling people to pray for justice for the nun and for the protection against the atrocities on Christians. India was being painted as a dangerous place to live in for Christians, if Nuns were being raped.
In fact one of the main proclaimers of atrocities to Christians in India, retired and respect police officer, Julio Ribeiro wrote an article in the Indian Express stating, “I am not an Indian any more, at least in the eyes of the proponents of the Hindu Rashtra (nation). Extremists have been emboldened beyond permissible limits by an atmosphere of hate and distrust. The Christian population has been subjected to a series of well directed body blows.”
In the end when investigations were carried out, the truth that the rape was not by Hindus but by a Muslim from Bangladesh, the fight for justice slowly died down, though the man finally got life imprisonment.
Even in 2008, when a group of Hindu men raped a 29-year old nun in Orissa, the entire Christian community rose up to fight for justice for the young nun.
The nun raped by the Bishop of Jalandhar is also a human. More so she is a part of the religious representatives of the Christian community. Not a single Archbishop, Bishop who found time to write letters about the country witnessing a turbulent political atmosphere which poses a threat to the democratic principles enshrined in our Constitution and the secular fabric of our nation have even condemned the act of the accused bishop, in particular Archbishop of Delhi Anil Couto and Archbishop of Goa Filipe Neri Ferrao.
The Kerala police had questioned the Bishop on the night of August 13 at the Diocesan headquarters in Jalandhar, Punjab. The accused informed the investigation officers that that he was not present at a guest house attached to the St Francis Mission Home – the nun’s convent at Kuravilangad in Kottayam district on May 5, 2014. This is the alleged place and date on where and which she said the Bishop had raped her for the first time.
This information shared with the Kerala Police during questioning has turned out to be a lie because sources in the Kerala Police have told GoaChronicle.com that their investigations have revealed that the Bishop had stayed at the convent in Kuravilangad on the particular date and at the convent in Thodupuzha, Idukki as lied by the accused.
The victim nun, in her statement, had stated that the Bishop had raped her 13 times between 2014 and 2016 at the Convent’s guest house at Kurvailangad.
The police nailed the lie of the accused Bishop when they questioned the nun-in-charge at the Thodupuzha convent. During interrogations she revealed that the Bishop had not arrived at the convent on May 5, 2014.
The nun-in-charge at first did not come forth with the truth. But on persistent questioning she broke down and told the investigating officers that her first statement to the police was false and that she lied because she was instructed too by the accused Bishop. The Bishop, she claimed, asked her to state that he was at Thodupuzha convent on the said date and day.
More importantly the Visitor’s Register Diary in possession of the police does not show any entry of the Bishop at the Thodupuzha convent on that day.
In another development during the investigations, the police officers learned from the driver of the accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal that he had dropped the clergyman at the St Francis Mission Home – a convent of the Missionaries of Jesus – to which the victim nun belonged at Kuravilangad on May 5, 2014.
In light of the new evidence in the hands of the Kerala Police which it makes it incumbent on them to arrest the Catholic Church’s Bishop, the investigation officers are still threading carefully due to pressures from seniors in the police force and political leaders is what GoaChronicle has learned. Thereby raising a pertinent question is the Catholic Bishop above the law of the land.
This nun, her family and her friend are being targeted by people close to the Bishop through bribes and death threats. The nun is fighting for justice. But the leaders of the Catholic Church continue to remain silent. The accused Bishop has not been eve suspended from his clergy duties. This nun’s life is in danger and the Kerala Police are under tremendous pressure to go slow in its investigations. The accused Bishop has not been arrested till now and this complaint have been over 12 weeks.
It is a shame that Catholic Church remains silent on heinous rapes done by their Bishops and Priests.