No funds for security of Kerala nun who accused Jalandhar bishop of rape, witnesses: Convent
The letter from the Catholic Church order’s mother superior general on Wednesday came a week after the police suggested certain measures to tighten security at the convent in Kuravilangad (Kottayam) where the victim and others were staying.
The Missionaries of Jesus Congregation has asked the Kerala police to shift the nun who filed a sexual assault case against the former bishop of Jalandhar and five witnesses (all nuns) to a government-run home as the convent did not have financial resources to ensure their protection.
The letter from the Catholic Church order’s mother superior general on Wednesday came a week after the police suggested certain measures to tighten security at the convent in Kuravilangad (Kottayam) where the victim and others were staying following the death of the one of the key witnesses in the case, Father Kattuthara, near Punjab’s Jalandhar last month.
Police decided to step up security to the victim and witnesses after the death and his relatives approaching the Punjab police for a thorough probe into circumstances that led to it.
Former Bishop of Jalandhar Franco Mullakkal, who was accused of raping a nun multiple times between 2014 and 16, is on bail after spending three weeks in a jail in Kerala. The special investigation team had arrested him after several rounds of questioning.
Following Kattuthara’s death, Sister Anupama, who led a two-week long sit-in in Kochi seeking Mullakkal be arrested, said they also feared for their lives. She had insisted that they will remain with the congregation and won’t move out of the convent, though a section of the inmates there is said to be supporting the bishop.
Later, police directed convent authorities to take a few measures such as installing CCTV cameras and proper lighting on the road while seeking details of all inmates and workers of the convent.
The mother superior, however, said the congregation doesn’t have financial resources to meet this requirements and the heightened security measures were affecting other inmates of the convent.
But sources close to the victim said it was a move aimed at pushing them out of the convent and silencing them.
Earlier, Father Augustine Vattoly, who was the convener of the ‘Save Our Sisters’ campaign, complained that he was warned of ecclesiastical action if he continued to back movements against the church. Sister Anupama was not available for her comment.
In June, a 43-year-old nun, also a mother superior, had complained to the police that Mullakkal had raped her 13 times between 2014 and 2016. The nun is a member of the Missionaries of Jesus congregation based in Punjab which also runs three convents in Kerala. But Mullakkal denied all charges, alleging he was being framed after he took action against her for financial irregularities in the convent.