The Kerala High Court will hear Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal’s anticipatory bail plea on September 25.

Franco Mulakkals attempt to dodge arrest fails anticipatory bail hearing adjourned
news Sexual Assault Tuesday, September 18, 2018 - 15:51

The Kerala High Court has adjourned the hearing on the anticipatory bail plea filed by rape accused Bishop Fr Franco Mulakkal to September 25. The Jalandhar Bishop had filed an anticipatory bail plea at the High Court on Tuesday, just a day before he is to be interrogated by the police.

In his anticipatory bail application, Fr Franco Mulakkal has denied claims made by the rape survivor nun and alleged that she had some ‘personal vengeance’ against him. Seeking anticipatory bail, the Jalandhar Bishop said that he is willing to cooperate in all the processes of the investigation. He also said that in the nun’s first statement to the police there was no complaint of sexual harassment. He is also reported to have informed the High Court that the nun and her family had threatened to kill him.

On Monday, the Diocese of Jalandhar had announced that the accused Bishop had written to the Pope and requested to be temporarily relieved from his administrative duties.

“Bishop Franco Mulakkal wrote a letter to Holy Father Pope Francis expressing his desire to step aside temporarily and requested to be relieved from the administration of the Diocese in the background of the court’s opinion in favour of Bishop Franco, which says, there is a lack of adequate evidence for the Bishop’s arrest, indicating his innocence. He decided on his own to make the request to the Holy Father. He is confident that his request will be accepted by the Vatican,” the statement read.

These developments come at a time when some of the sisters of the Kuravilangad convent have been protesting near the Kochi High Court, demanding the arrest of the Bishop. The protest, which is entering its 10th day on Tuesday, has received support from various people, including activists, artists, politicians and the general public.

85-year-old Jose Joseph who belongs to Joint Christian Council, which has lent support to the nuns’ protest, has been on a hunger strike since September 9. He has been demanding the arrest of the Bishop. On Monday, he was joined by the rape survivor nun’s sister. On Tuesday, activist P Geetha also joined the hunger strike.

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