The nuns backing the survivor also said that they will not leave their convent in Kuravilangad and they will continue fighting by staying inside.

Nuns protest file photo
news Franco case Friday, January 14, 2022 - 14:47

Four nuns, companions of the survivor in the rape case against Bishop Franco Mulakkal in Kerala, who were in the forefront of standing with the woman, said that they will continue their battle until justice is delivered. Sister Anupama, one of the nuns, said that they considered the verdict acquitting Franco, as one based on power and money.  “We are still unable to believe it. The justice we got from the police and the prosecutor, we didn't get from the judiciary. We will continue this fight until our sister gets justice. Everything was in our favor. We are not aware what happened after that,” Sr Anupama told the media, along with other three nuns outside their convent in Kuravilangad of Kottayam district.

A court in Kerala on Friday, January 14, acquitted Roman Catholic Bishop Franco Mulakkal of the charges of raping a nun in the convent. The Additional District and Sessions Court II, Kottayam, acquitted the bishop stating that the prosecution failed to produce evidence against the accused Mulakkal (57), was accused of raping the nun multiple times between 2014 to 2016 during his visit to a convent in this district when he was the bishop of the Jalandhar diocese of the Roman Catholic church.

The nuns said that they will go for an appeal in a higher court until the survivor gets justice. “We will continue the fight until our sister gets justice. Even if we have to die, we will keep up the fight. Bishop Franco is a man with both money and muscle power,” Sr Anupama said.

They also said that they will not leave the convent and they will continue fighting by staying inside. Sisters Alphy, Anupama, Josephine, Nina Rose and Ancett were the nuns who had risked their prospects for their colleague and friend, the survivor in the rape case, when they came out in public. It was after a protest by these nuns in August 2018, that the survivor got large public support and the bishop was arrested by the police. This was probably the first time that five nuns came out of their convent and stood for a public protest against a bishop of the Catholic church.

The acquittal on Friday morning came as a shock to many. Senior IPS officer S Harishankar, who had led the special investigation team in the rape case against the bishop, said the verdict was not acceptable and an appeal should be moved against it. "It is a very very unfortunate verdict. We had expected 100% conviction in the case," Harishankar told reporters.

Echoing the same sentiments, Public Prosecutor Jithesh J Babu said despite the victim's statement, the verdict came out like this. "This could not be accepted," he said, adding that the verdict will be challenged in the higher court after getting the approval of the government.

The rape case against the bishop was registered by police in Kottayam district in June, 2018. In her complaint to the police, the nun had alleged that she was subjected to sexual abuse by Franco between 2014 and 2016. The Special Investigation Team which probed the case, arrested the bishop in September 2018 and charged him with wrongful confinement, rape, unnatural sex and criminal intimidation. Trial in the case, started in November 2019, had concluded on January 10. 


Read : David vs Goliath: Meet the five nuns who waged a 14-day battle for justice

Read : Bishop Franco Mulakkal acquitted in rape case by Kerala court


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