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Bishop Franco Mulakkal rape case: Protesting Kerala nuns won't be transferred

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Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 9: Jalandhar diocese has written that the nuns, who are also key witnesses in the rape case against Bishop Franco Mulakkal, will not be transferred out of the Kuravilangad convent where they are staying now.

The nuns had earlier reportedly approached the National Commission for Women (NCW) alleging that the transfer orders issued last year were to pressurise and threaten them as they were prominent witnesses in the case.

File photo of Bishop Franco Mulakkal who is an accused in this case

Bishop Agnelo, Apostolic administrator in charge of the congregation, has written a letter to 5 sisters protesting against Franco Mulakkal, reported ANI.

"There will be no move from Diocese of Jalandhar to oust you from Kuravilangad Church as long as you are needed for the court case," the letter read.

The nuns stay at the Kuravilangadu convent along with the survivor, who was not transferred.

The four nuns had been transferred by the Missionaries of Jesus congregation to various locations in March, 2018, months after they had complained at several forums within the church against the Bishop.

However, the church cancelled their transfer orders on Friday, a day before they were to take to the streets for round two of their protest.

The nuns announced the development at the protest venue in Kottayam as they demanded justice for the nun. The nuns had earlier protested near Kerala High Court in September last year.

[NCW requests Kerala CM Pinaryi Vijayan in Bishop Mulakkal case]

National Commission for Women (NCW) had earlier this month written a letter to Kerala CM Pinaryi Vijayan requesting a transparent probe into allegations against rape-accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal.

The NCW had accused the Catholic Church of not protecting the interest of a nun, who has alleged that Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal raped her in 2014. The church was in the process of "glorifying" the Bishop arrested for raping her, NCW chairperson Rekha Sharma had alleged.

[Kerala nun rape case: Four nuns who protested against Bishop Franco punished]

Mulakkal, who was Bishop of Jalandhar diocese, was arrested in September 2018 for allegedly raping the nun at Kuravilangadu in Kottayam district. In her complaint to the Kottayam police in June, the nun had alleged that Mulakkal raped her at a guest house in Kuravilangad in May 2014 and later sexually exploited her on several occasions. However, Mulakkal has denied the charges. He was later granted conditional bail in the case.

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