Kerala: Missionaries of Jesus say rape charges against bishop are 'manipulated'
by Nirmala Carvalho

The nun who filed a complaint against Mgr Franco Mulakkal belongs to the same congregation. The sisters have started to fast and pray for the bishop. The police are putting pressure on other nuns to file a complaint.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) – The accusations against Mgr Franco Mulakkal, former bishop of Jalandhar (Punjab) arrested on charges of raping a nun, have been manipulated, say the Missionaries of Jesus (MJ), the congregation to which belongs the nun who started the case against the prelate, in an official statement released yesterday. The police “are even trying to persuade other nuns to file a complaint against him”.

Yesterday, a delegation of 15 Sisters met with Kerala’s Chief Minister in Delhi, the state where the complaint was filed. “The investigation is biased and partial,” said Sister Amala. “We hope the Chief Minister acts. Bishop Franco Mulakkal has been falsely framed in this case". The declaration of the Missionaries is signed by Sister Regina, Mother Superior of the congregation.

Yesterday the sisters began a hunger strike and started praying for the bishop whom they consider innocent.

The nun in question has accused Bishop Mulakkal of raping her between 2014 and 2016. He has denied all charges and has asked to be temporarily relieved of his diocesan duties, a request Pope Francis accepted. Currently, the prelate is in prison.

"The accused bishop is innocent and the police arrested him without any reasons," the statement goes on to say.  Since the "MJ congregation is responsible for crucifying him”, its members “will be fasting and praying on Wednesday to God, seeking forgiveness".

The congregation also complains that police authorities are putting pressure on its members to force them to speak against the bishop.

Finally, the statement notes “that the investigation team is mentally torturing nuns in the convents under the congregation and many of them are gripped by fear. Some have been so badly affected that they had to seek medical help. In the present situation, many nuns are afraid to tell the truth.”