According to SOS ACtion Council, Sister Lissy Vadakkel, a witness in the case against rape-accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal, was forcefully transferred to the convent in Vijayawada.

Vijayawada convents Superior others booked for wrongful confinement of Kerala nunImage used for representational purpose only
news Kerala nun rape case Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - 15:06

The Muvattupuzha police in Ernakulam has registered a case against Vijayawada Franciscan Clarist Congregation (FCC) convent’s Provincial Superior Sister Alphonsa and three counsellors for wrongfully confining Sister Lissy Vadakkel, a member of the congregation, in the convent. According to Sister Lissy’s brother, who filed the complaint on Monday, she was forcefully transferred from the Muvattupuzha convent in Ernakulam to Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh after the Congregation officials learnt that she gave a statement against Bishop Franco.

According to the Muvattipuzha police, the FIR has been filed against the four under IPC 342 (wrongful confinement). Sister Lissy’s brother’s complaint comes after the Save Our Sisters (SOS) Action Council had filed a complaint on Sunday with the Superintendent of Police (SP) in Kottayam, informing them about Sister Lissy’s transfer.

“On Monday, we filed a complaint to Kottayam SP, who, in turn, directed Vaikam DYSP Subash to intervene. He then directed the Muvavattupuzha police to probe the issue. Currently, the case filed has been filed per the complaint of the brother,” Riju Kanjoorkaran, one of the conveners of SOS action council, told TNM.

In addition to Sister Alphonsa Abraham, cases have been filed against Sister Preethi, Sister Archana and Sister Noble of the Vijayawada convent. 

Another attempt to isolate witnesses?

SOS Action Council Joint Convener Shyju Antony, in the complaint, sought protection for sister Lissy Vadakkel, who is one of the prime witnesses in the case against Bishop Franco Mulakkal case.

“Two weeks ago, the nun had informed the officials of the congregation that she had given a statement against Bishop Franco. Upon learning this, FCC officials seized her mobile phone and transferred her to Vijayawada within two weeks,” said Riju Kanjoorkaran, one of the conveners of SOS action council.

The Action Council also alleged that sister Lissy was under house arrest at the convent in Andhra Pradesh. “Sister Lissy had requested the Congregation to allow her to stay back in Muvattuphuzha to take care of her mother, who was hospitalised in critical condition. The congregation officials, however, did not accept her request. The convent in Vijayawada is located in a remote area, with no proper mobile networks. They also did not allow her to use the telephone at the convent,” added Riju.

Even though Sister Lissy managed to escape from the convent in Vijayawada to Kerala on February 15, citing that her mother was critical, the officials of the convent, led by their provincial Sister Alphonsa Abraham, is coercing sister Lissy to go back to Vijayawada, read the complaint.

SOS Action Council also allege that convent officials in Muvattuphuzha are forcing Sister Lissy to return because of the directions given by FCC Mother General Sister Ann Joseph.

“Sister Lissy, who is already suffering from some medical condition, is now being threatened and we believe her life is in danger. Forcing her to return to the Vijayawada convent as part of a larger agenda to eliminate witnesses in the case,” alleged Shyju, joint convener of action council.

According to the Action Council members, Sister Lissy is currently staying with her ailing mother in a Thodupuzha hospital and does not think it is possible to fight back without proper protection.

“The police should ensure proper protection mechanism to let her stay back in Kerala. If she is sent back, they will not allow her to even come for the further proceedings of the case,” said Riju. SOS Action Council has also asked the police to register a case against those officials who are coercing her to go back to the convent in Vijayawada.  

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