Kerala nun rape case: Accused Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal arrested, say reports

Bishop Franco Mulakkal accused of raping a nun leaves after questioning before the special investigation team of the Kerala police in Thrippunithura Wednesday

Bishop Franco Mulakkal accused of raping a nun leaves after questioning before the special investigation team of the Kerala police in Thrippunithura Wednesday

The following development comes to light after it was reported that the Kerala police had summoned Franco Mulakkal to Crime Branch in Kochi for questioning the rape case.

On Thursday, in a significant move, the Vatican had divested the bishop of his administrative powers of the diocese of Jalandhar. The case against the bishop was registered after the nun met the police chief with a complaint that the bishop had raped her multiple times at the Kuravilangad Mission Home, between May 2014 and September 2016.

According to India Today, the statement said, "The nun who has complained against the bishop has conspired in connivance with nine others, including five nuns, against the bishop".

He also wrote to Pope Francis, the highest authority in the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy, expressing his desire to "temporarily step aside" from the responsibilities of the diocese, allowing him time to fight his case.

Hindustan Times reported the protesting nuns as saying that if the arrest isn't made immediately, their agitation is going to intensify even further. On Thursday, activists staged a protest outside the Kerala Secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram, demanding that the priest be arrested.

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A group of Catholic nuns launched a rare street protest nearly a fortnight ago in Kochi, the state's financial hub, demanding justice for the nun. The sister also said that she was there all those years and that she saw the victim nun being very happy with Franco Mulakkal.

The woman, 44, filed a police complaint in June, after claiming the Catholic Church had taken no action despite repeated appeals. The nun is a member of the Missionaries of Jesus congregation based in Punjab which runs two convents in Kerala.

"By tomorrow, we will be able to complete the interrogation", he said. "We can not crucify an innocent soul based on such allegations", reported News18.

Police said he will appear in court on Sunday. The arrest on Friday was after over seven hours of interrogation.

Sankar told reporters on Friday that the police would now investigate charges of rape, illegal confinement, unnatural sex and intimidation.

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