Rape accused Jalandhar Bishop, Franco Mulakkal, filed for anticipatory bail at the Kerala High Court on Tuesday. The Bishop, who was summoned for interrogation on Wednesday, in his anticipatory bail application said that the claims made by the nun against him were false and he claimed she had some ‘personal vengeance’ against him.
In his bail application, the Bishop had requested not to be arrested and said that he is willing to cooperate in all the processes of the investigation. He also said that in the nun’s first statement 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.
Jose Joseph, 85 years old, of the Joint Christian Council, who has been on a hunger strike from September 9 demanding the arrest of the Bishop, was joined by the rape survivor’s sister on Monday. Activist P Geetha is also reported to have joined the hunger strike.