Kerala police on Wednesday issued a summons to rape accused Jalandhar Bishop Father Franco Mulakkal directing him to appear before them on September 19 in connection with the sexual harassment charges against him levelled by a nun.
On Wednesday, the Ernakulam range Inspector General (IG) Vijay Sakhare held a meeting at his residence with Kottayam Superintendent of Police (SP) Harishankar and Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySP), K Subhash. After the meeting concluded, the IG spoke to the media and stated that the summons has already been sent to the bishop.
“There are contradictions in the statements given by the complainant, the witness and the bishop. We have summoned Bishop Fr Franco Mulakkal and asked him to appear on September 19. All efforts are being made to gather evidence. The investigation is on,” IG Vijay Sakhare said, speaking to the media.
Jalandhar Bishop Franco has been accused of raping a 44-year-old nun multiple times between 2014 and 2016.
Meanwhile, the protest by the nuns in front of the Kerala High Court entered its fifth day on Wednesday. This is the 78th day since the rape survivor nun filed an FIR against Father Mulakkal.
Speaking to TNM, Sister Josephine, one of the protesting nuns, questioned why the Kerala police were granting so much time to the rape accused Bishop.
“There was no need for the police to give him so much time. The Bishop is a criminal. Why grant him time instead of arresting him? We fear that this notice summoning him is also a farce,” Sister Josephine said, adding that their protests will continue till Father Mulakkal is arrested.
Earlier today, TNM accessed a circular where various Kerala Church authorities have sent directions to all major congregation superiors to ensure that no other nun joins or expresses their support to the protest. The Missionaries of Jesus Congregation has also come to the Bishop's defence and implied that the nun's statements were not entirely true.
Alleging inaction on part of the police, the survivor had written a letter to the Vatican ambassador, explaining how despite having reached out to several church officials, no one had reached out to help her.