‘They want to split us, isolate the victim’: Kerala nuns stand firm against rape-accused bishop
Five nuns of the Missionaries of Jesus congregation fell from the grace of their superiors after they supported one of their fellow nuns when she levelled rape charges against former bishop of Jalandhar Franco Mullakkal.
The nuns have since been hounded, asked to vacate their convent in Kuravilangad (Kottayam) and proceed to their previous vocations by their mother superior. Talking to HT, the leader of five nuns, Sister Anupama Kelamangalathuveliyil, said this too is part of an effort at silencing them Excerpts from the interview:
You said the latest move to transfer you is aimed at weakening the case?
No doubt about it. They want to split us and isolate the victim so as to weaken the case. It is a fight to finish and we will never leave our fellow sister alone. Ever since we raised our fingers, there were attempts to defrock us and expel us. Even in Kerala, there were many attempts on us.
I used to drive a two-wheeler and its brake wires were cut twice. If we go to faraway places in Bihar or Punjab, it is easy for them to liquidate us. Even in Kerala, our congregation never stood with us, so we can imagine our plight in faraway places. Come what may we will not move out of the convent.
You said you are leading a secluded life in the convent?
True. Most inmates of the convent are not even on talking terms with us. They transferred some from Jalandhar to keep a tab on us. In religious duties and other functions we were always excluded. During Christmas, we used to get Rs 1000. This time we failed to get this also. We rear live chickens and sell their eggs and cultivate vegetables to eke out our living. Some believers were even barred from procuring these things from us.
What is next for you?
We will take the case to its logical end. We will ensure justice to our fellow nun who suffered a lot. No other nun should undergo her plight. The government appointed a public prosecutor last week and we expect the trial to be fast-tracked. We will remain in the convent. We will be part of our congregation till our last breath. Our fight is for justice and not against anyone.