The Franciscan Clarist Congregation (FCC) has sent an ultimatum to Sister Lissy Vadakkel, one of the witnesses in the sexual assault case against Bishop Franco Mulakkal, asking her to leave the convent in Kerala and report to the one in Vijayawada.
The letter sent by sister Alphonsa Abraham, Provincial Superior of the congregation, has asked Sister Lissy Vadakkel to return to Provincial House Community at Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh by March 31. The letter says that Sister Lissy can ask for an extension of just one more month to stay back at the Jyothi Bhavan in Muvattupuzha in Kochi, where she is currently lodged.
Sister Lissy had returned to Kerala from Vijayawada to meet her ailing mother. On coming to Kerala, she had expressed her fear for her life as she had given a statement against Franco in the case.
In the letter, the Provincial Superior also denied the allegation that the congregation had asked Sister Lissy not to give a statement against Bishop Franco. Sister Lissy, in an earlier interview to news portal 'Cue', had said that the congregation officials had deliberately delayed her visit to Kerala to give statement against Franco.
“I deny the testimonial given by Sister Lissy to media that I am against her giving statement against Bishop Franco. In the first place, I was unaware that she had given a statement under section 164 of CrPc. I have also not questioned Sister Lissy’s constitutional right to give such a declaration and will never discourage her from being the witness in the case,” said Sister Alphonsa.
Having said that, FCC does not want Sister Lissy to continue staying in Kerala as the trial of the case has not started. “The chargesheet in the case has not been filed, so once it is done, the competent judge will assess whether there are enough evidence to start the trial. When the trial begins, the competent authority will summon you in advance so that you can travel to give your testimony,” said the Provincial Superior.
Calling sister Lissy’s statement a blatant lie, FCC also said that Sister Lissy had been given money to buy medicines for her illness. In the letter, FCC has stated that sister Lissy’s needs will be taken care of by her superiors once she returns to Vijayawada.
“At the Kerala convent, everybody turned against me. Even some of the parishioners and priests at the church started ostracising me. I was denied money to buy medicines for diabetes, arthritis and my other illness and even the basic necessities such as toothpaste and oil. I had to seek money from people outside the convent to buy these essentials, which the Provincial Mother propagated as shopping,” Sister Lissy had told The Cue earlier this month.