Despite a wave of support from Keralites for the 44-year-old nun who has accused Bishop Franco Mullakkal of rape, the Changanacherry-based Catholic Federation of India is set to launch a protest demanding the removal of nuns who have spoken out against the former bishop of Jalandhar diocese. The federation alleges that the nuns are illegally staying at the Missionaries of Jesus convent in Kuravilangad.
"If the Save Our Sisters (SOS) begins the second phase protest against the Catholic church, we will launch our protest to oust the nuns from the convent," Catholic Federation of India President P P Joseph told TNM. Joseph went on to say that the nuns have support from extremist groups.
However, the Vatican is closely watching the developments of the alleged rape case, according to a press release issued by Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI). "Cardinal George Alancherry, Cardinal Baselios Cleemis and Cardinal Oswald Gracias presently in Rome for the Synod of Bishops, have met with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, secretary of state, with Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation of the Evangelization of Peoples, and with Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation of the Churches, to share our thoughts on Jalandhar issue," the statement said.
"We were assured that the Holy See is closely following developments and is awaiting the result of a police investigation. We reiterated our confidence in the Judicial system of India, and trust the full truth will emerge and justice will be done for all," according to the statement.
Meanwhile, SOS plans to launch their second protest against Bishop Franco Mullakkal. "The church authorities are trying to demolish the case against Bishop Franco. The visit of bishops and political leaders in Pala Sub Jail shows the conspiracy," SOS Action Council convenor. Fr Augustine Vattoly told TNM.
Fr Vattoly also criticised Poonjar MLA PC George for his derogatory comments against women and the nun who is the victim in the case.
"We will file a petition against George with the police after we undertake a signature-campaign of women from across the state and will submit to Kerala Assembly speaker," he said.