On Saturday, Kerala witnessed an unprecedented protest. Five nuns of the Missionaries of Jesus sat next to the Kerala High Court, seeking justice for their friend and colleague, a 44-year-old nun who had accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar diocese of multiple instances of rape.
Even as the nuns went ahead with their protest bravely, a press meet was held by PC George, Poonjar MLA and a politician known for his vile words. This is not the first time that PC George has attacked a rape survivor, and in his characteristic foul nature, he went on to shame the survivor, even calling her a prostitute before the cameras.
Though the complaint against Bishop Franco Mulakkal was given 75 days ago, the nun has never spoken to the media. On Saturday, it was decided that the nun would meet the media for the first time on Sunday. But that press meet was later cancelled. “After PC George’s press meet, she is not in a frame of mind for it,” said Sister Anupama, one of the five nuns who have stood with the survivor.
“We were not with her when he called for the press meet, we were in Kochi. Her sister was with her and she told us that the nun cried as soon as she heard PC George, and ran into her room. She locked herself up for hours and she was in her room even when we reached back. She did not have any food last night and her condition continues to be the same even today,” Sister Anupama told TNM.
Anupama also said that the survivor was so wounded by PC George’s words that she has refused to speak to anyone or take calls. “She is just in her room,” Anupama said.
Anupama also questioned why the Kerala police have not arrested the bishop yet. “The victim and the five of us have been questioned almost 12 times, while the bishop has been questioned just once. The DySP who is in charge of the investigation has maintained that the rape complaint had substance to it, but he is under pressure from higher officials,” she said.
Slamming PC George, Anupama called him a stooge of the bishop. “They are trying to harass us mentally. They are trying to defeat us. PC George is just one example. Till Franco Mulakkal is living outside happily, such things will keep happening,” she said.
The Catholic Church has been accused of attempting to bury the rape case. In July, a leaked audio conversation revealed how Father James Erthayil, attached to the Kanjirappally diocese of Carmelites of Mary Immaculate, attempted to bribe and lure Sister Anupama from the Missionaries of Jesus in Kottayam, in return for withdrawing support to the survivor. Following media reports of the audio conversation, Father James was asked to step down from his position and transferred to Idukki by the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate. The Kerala police also registered a criminal case against him.
Anupama told TNM that the nuns will file a case against PC George.
Jomon Puthenpurackal, an activist who fought against the Church and has been instrumental in exposing the death of Sister Abhaya in 1992, told TNM that the case against PC George should be filed by the survivor nun herself and not by anyone else on her behalf.
In August 2017, PC George had attacked the actor who had been assaulted in a moving car in a similar fashion. Read here.
The actor had then written to Kerala Chief Minister asking him whether she should have killed herself after the crime, instead of approaching the police. Read here.