On Wednesday, the nuns were asked to leave their Kerala convent and return to the convent where they had been previously assigned.

Bishop Franco case Nuns say they will defy transfer order by Missionaries of Jesus
news Kerala nun rape case Thursday, January 17, 2019 - 08:50

The four nuns who publicly protested against rape-accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal were on Wednesday asked to leave the Kuravilangad convent in Kerala. The nuns, however, have refused to follow the order, which they say is a "vindictive transfer" and part of the church's plan to break their unity. The Mother Superior of the Missionaries of Jesus, the congregation to which these nuns are attached, have said this is merely a routine transfer that happens at regular intervals.

On Wednesday, TNM exclusively reported that four of the five nuns who supported their fellow rape survivor nun -- Sister Alphy Pallasseril, Sister Anupama Kelamangalathuveliyil, Sister Josephine Villoonnickal, and Sister Ancitta Urumbil -- were asked to leave the convent in Kuravilangad. Each had been asked to return to the convent that they were previously assigned to by the Missionaries of Jesus.

But when the nuns found out about the transfer, they declined to oblige.

"This is nothing but a vindictive transfer and the game plan of the Church is to split us to different places. Come what may, we will not move from here and we will be with the victim," Sister Anupama told the media.

The five nuns, including Sister Nina Rose who has not been asked to leave, protested in September 2018 against Bishop Franco Mulakkal, head of the Jalandhar diocese of the Catholic Church.

Mulakkal was arrested on September 21 last year on charges of raping a nun repeatedly between 2014 and 2016.

It was after these nuns joined the public protest at Kochi that the police succumbed to pressure from various quarters and decided to take strong action against the bishop.

While Sister Anupama, who led the nuns, has been transferred to Punjab, the others have been transferred to three other places -- Sister Ancitta has been asked to join the Pariyaram community in Kannur, Sister Alphy to the Pakartala community in Bihar, and Sister Josephine to the Lalmatia community in Jharkhand.

Bishop Franco Mulakkal got bail on October 16, 2018 and is now based in Punjab.

With IANS inputs