Pope Temporarily Relieves Bishop Mulakkal of Pastoral Duties

Leroy Wright
September 22, 2018

Franco Mulakkal has claimed allegations against him were a "cooked up story to wreak vengeance" for the actions taken by him on various complaints received against the nun.

The anticipatory bail plea of the bishop is set to come up before the high court on September 25.

Reportedly, a nun from Missionaries of Jesus in Kottayam filed a complaint against the Bishop, accusing him of raping her repeatedly 13 times since the year 2014.

He wrote the letter after Kerala police summoned him to appear before it for questioning in the case. The statement said that the nuns have been influenced by some people to take such a step. The procedure that the law mandates, in a case involving non-bailable offences, is to arrest the accused and interrogate, once the accused is in custody.

A Roman Catholic bishop was arrested in the south Indian state of Kerala on Friday on charges of raping a nun, police said, a day after the Vatican accepted the bishop's request to be temporarily relieved of his duties.

On Thursday, in a significant move, the Vatican had divested the bishop of his administrative powers of the diocese of Jalandhar.

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Citing convention, legal experts had said the priest is unlikely to be arrested before September 25.

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.

Protests erupted outside the crime branch office in Thrippunithura where Mulakkal was questioned on Thursday.

The Pope appointed Bishop Emeritus of the Archdiocese of Bombay Agnelo Rufino Gracias as the Apostolic administrator of the diocese of Jalandhar with immediate effect, a CBCI statement said.

Rajat Kalsan, a Haryana criminal lawyer, who has represented the victim in the Dabra gangrape case, as well as other such sexual offences, told Firstpost: "According to the CrPC, the procedure is clear: first arrest, then interrogate". The nuns and their families are facing mental trauma and continuous pressure from the church, but they are keen to fight for their fellow sister.

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