Sexual Assault

Even as support started pouring in from different corners for the five nuns who started an indefinite protest near the Kochi High Court on Saturday demanding the arrest of the Jalandhar Bishop, James Franco Mulakkal who is accused of raping a nun, the congregation that they belong to, the Missionaries of Jesus, in a press note on Monday announced that they will not support the sisters in the protest.

“We condemn the act by the sisters of our congregation who are protesting outside the High Court. As far as our congregation is concerned, we are ashamed and saddened by this protest,” read the press release put out by the Missionaries of Jesus. It must be noted that the Missionaries of Jesus works under the diocese headed by Bishop Mulakkal.

“Our consciousness does not allow us to stand with the victim and the sisters who are supporting her in order to crucify an innocent man,” read the press release which was signed by Mother General Sr Regina, and councillors Sr Amala, Sr Virgin and Sr Maria.

The press statement also went on to say that the nun’s claims about the Bishop raping her multiple times between 2014 and 2016 is false and that they have passed on this information to the legal body.

“Our sister claims that the Bishop raped her on May 5, 2014 but even after that, there has been instances when the sister herself invited the Bishop for her various family functions which the Bishop had attended,” it said.

The press release also alleged that the protesting sisters do not legally belong to the Kuravilangad convent and that they are staying there only to challenge the congregation and to be a part of this campaign.

The statement goes on to say that the five sisters are protesting with the help from external forces. “This is evident from the various banners that are seen at the protest tents,” added the statement.

The statement says that because of the lie of one of their sisters, the police had to investigate and question the homes of various priests of the congregation. “This action has caused deep pain and sadness for the sisters of the congregation,” it said.

“We would like to warn all the cultural and political leaders who are coming out in support of the five sisters to be careful about not being cheated by them,” said the press release.

Reacting to the press statement by the Missionaries of Jesus, sister Anupama, one of the nuns participating in the protest told TNM,“This is extremely painful that this support for the bishop has come from the community of nuns. But we don’t think that this was written by sister Regina. The Missionaries of Jesus obeys what the bishop says, they would just sign at the place where he would want them to."

“The Superior General, the highest authority of the Missionaries of Jesus, had written to the survivor nun’s sister acknowledging that there had been problems with the nun and the bishop but she asked how we could think of acting against 'his Excellency' the bishop. She used the word his excellency. If the Missionaries had given her justice we would not have been forced to protest on the street for justice. The nun had complained to the Superior General, if she had listened and taken it to the higher authorities of the church and if the Bishop was removed from the post, this could had been settled inside the church. The nun didn’t get justice from the Superior General or from the Church.”

Anupama also rejected any dialogue with the bishop. “What the Superior General suggested in the letter to the nun’s sister was to sort out the personal problem with the Bishop. What she meant was that she should share his bed and solve it."