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Friday, Nov 22, 2019

Trial against ex-bishop Mulakkal to start on Nov 11

The district court in Kottayam has summoned him on November 11 when charges against him will be framed.The chargesheet against him was filed two months ago after agitating nuns threatened another round of sit-in protest.

chandigarh Updated: Oct 23, 2019 23:28 IST
Ramesh Babu
Ramesh Babu
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Hindustantimes
         

The trial against former bishop of Jalandhar diocese Franco Mulakkal, who is facing sexual assault charges, will begin on November 11 even as the victim nun sought cancellation of his bail alleging that he and his followers were threatening and assassinating the character of witnesses in the case.

The district court in Kottayam has summoned him on November 11 when charges against him will be framed.The chargesheet against him was filed two months ago after agitating nuns threatened another round of sit-in protest.

The nun, who filed sexual assault case against Mulakkal, had filed a fresh complaint with the state women commission last week saying he and his supporters were allegedly torturing and shaming her and other witnesses through social media.

The complaint was filed on October 19 and its copies were also forwarded to the National Commission for Women and National Human Rights Commission, a spokesman of the Save Our Sisters (SOS), an outfit formed in solidarity with the nun, said.

The nun also accused a YouTube channel of releasing videos and audio defaming her. She also alleged that some websites had also revealed her identity flouting the Supreme Court directive

“There is a concerted effort to defame her. All kinds of stories are doing the rounds. They started character assassination after all efforts to intimidate her failed,” said Sister Anupama, one of the five nuns who sat in protest in Kochi last year seeking his arrest. She said some of the witnesses were under constant threat and sought the cancellation of his bail.

“He is using his power and influence to intimidate witnesses. There are also efforts to delay the trial. But we are sure we will get justice finally,” said Sister Anupama who is staying with the victim at a convent in Kottyam.

“The complaint against Mulakkal is serious. You can’t use social media to attack the victim. We have sought a report from the state police chief,” said state women commission chairperson MC Josephine.

The case against Mulakkal came up in June 2018 after a 43-year-old nun, also a mother superior, had complained that he had raped her on several occasions between 2014 and 2016. The nun is a member of the Missionaries of Jesus congregation based in Punjab. But Mullakkal denied all charges saying he was framed after he took action against her for financial irregularities in the convent.

Later, the special investigation team had arrested him after several rounds of questioning. He was later granted bail.

BLURB Alleging character assassination of witnesses, victim wants his bail to be cancelled