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Home / India News / Kerala Nun who protested against ex-bishop Franco Mulakkal says she was asked to stay away from religious rites

Kerala Nun who protested against ex-bishop Franco Mulakkal says she was asked to stay away from religious rites

Sister Lucy Kalappurkkal of Mananthvadi diocese (north Kerala) said she was instructed by the Mother Superior of the convent not to participate in any religious service of the diocese.

india Updated: Sep 23, 2018 16:13 IST
Ramesh Babu
Ramesh Babu
Hindustan Times, Thiruvananthapuram
Nuns and supporters protest against former bishop Franco Mulakkal, who is accused of raping a nun, in Kochi.
Nuns and supporters protest against former bishop Franco Mulakkal, who is accused of raping a nun, in Kochi.(AFP File Photo)

A nun who participated in the stir against former Bishop of Jalandhar Franco Mulakkal who was arrested on rape charges has been asked not to attend the holy offering and other religious rites – a decision which left church reformers outraged.

Sister Lucy Kalappurkkal of Mananthvadi diocese (north Kerala) said she was instructed by the Mother Superior of the convent not to participate in any religious service of the diocese.

“After participating in the nuns’ stir in Kochi I came back to my convent on Sunday morning. Sad, I was asked to keep away from all religious duties,” she said. She was with the agitating nuns of Missionaries of Jesus who staged a dharna in Kochi seeking action against Mulakkal for allegedly raping a nun. The two-week-long protest was called off on Saturday after Mulakkal’s arrest.

When contacted, a spokesman of the Mananthvadi Diocese refused to comment. But leaders of ‘Save Our Sisters’ movement and activists decried the action saying it was sheer victimisation and witch-hunt. The convener of ‘Save our Sisters’, an outfit floated in the wake of the nuns’ agitation, Father Agustin Vattolly said his organization would fight for the nun and try to convince the Mananthvadi diocese to reverse its decision.

“It seems a witch-hunt has begun. The nuns’ movement was a kind of renaissance meant to cleanse church stables. Rather than introspecting church authorities are back to their dirty game of intimidation and witch-hunt,” said Sister Jesme, activist and writer, who was defrocked ten years ago for turning against the Catholic church.

With the arrest of former head of Jalandhar Diocese, one of the richest and powerful dioceses in the country, church reformers say a channel has been opened for exploited to come out and speak up. In Kerala, Christians form around 18% of the 3.32 crore population.

In June, the 43-year-old nun, also a mother superior, had complained to the police that Mulakkal 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.

Mulakkal was arrested on Friday after three days of questioning. He has been charged under IPC Sections 342 (wrongful confinement), 376 (rape), 377 (unnatural offence) and 560 (1) (criminal intimidation).

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