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Bishop Franco Mulakkal harassed Father Kuriakose, alleges kin

india Updated: Oct 25, 2018 08:13 IST
Parampreet Singh Narula
Parampreet Singh Narula
Hindustan Times, Jalandhar
Franco Mulakkal,Father Kuriakose,Kuriakose Kattuthara

Police sniffer dog tracking outside the residence of father Kuriakose Kattuthara, who was found dead in mysterious circumstances in Dasuya, Punjab, India on Monday, October 22, 2018. (HT Photo)

The brother of Father Kuriakose Kattuthara, who was found dead in Punjab’s Hoshiarpur on Monday, has lodged a police complaint alleging the priest was being harassed by controversial former Jalandhar bishop, Franco Mulakkal, and his supporters .

Kattuthara, 62, had testified against Mulakkal, who was arrested last month on allegations of raping a Kerala nun repeatedly over a period of two years. Kattuthara had alleged there were attempts by the church to hush up the sexual assault complaint by the nun against Mulakkal.

His brother, Jose Kattuthara, cousin, John Thomas, and nephew, Jojo Thomas, reached Dasuya in the morning from Kerala to lodge the police complaint. Dasuya police initiated inquest proceedings following the complaint and the body was handed over to the family after the post-mortem examination.

“I and my family members suspect that our brother’s death was not natural as he was under pressure and being tortured by Franco and his people,” Jose said in his complaint.

“Father Kuriakose was the first priest who spoke against Franco through electronic media. Since then he was threatened by Franco and his own parish members started turning against him at Franco’s directions,” he said.

“He (Kuriakose) told me that ever since Franco came out on bail, he was being mentally tortured,” Jose said in the complaint. Jose said Kattuthara’s salary was reduced to ₹500 and that, too, was irregular. “He was one of the senior priests of the diocese. All his positions were taken away from him,” he said.

Father Peter, a spokesperson for the former Bishop, said the allegations by the Kuriakose family had been concocted with the aim of getting Mulakkal’s bail cancelled. Dasuya station house officer, Jagdish Raj Attri, said the police had lodged the complaint and further action will be taken on the basis of the autopsy report.

Kattuthara, a native of Alleppey in Kerala, was found dead in his room at St Mary’s Church in Dasuya by his cook around 9am on Monday. “When we broke opened the door, we found Father lying on his bed. We immediately took him to the civil hospital, where he was declared brought dead,” Sister Lisabeth, the principal of the St Paul Convent School, said. Father James Chaco Ullatil, the head priest at Dasuya church, said Kattuthara’s family has wrongly claimed that his salary was reduced to Rs 500 and alleged that they were doing it to put pressure on the police.

First Published: Oct 24, 2018 23:03 IST