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Transfer of nuns agitating against bishop revoked

The Jalandhar diocese of the Roman Catholic Church has revoked the transfers of the nuns protesting against rape-accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal and assured them that there will be no move to shunt them out of the Kerala convent as long as they as they are needed for the court case.

An e-mail was sent to the five nuns, who are staying with the survivor nun, by apostolic administrator of Jalandhar diocese Bishop Angelo Gracias, one of the nuns said in Kottayam on Saturday. The bishop has assured the nuns that “there will be no move from the diocese of Jalandhar to oust” them from Kuravilangad convent in Kottayam district as long as they are needed for the court case, she said. Authorities of Jalandhar diocese could not be reached for comment. On Saturday, the five nuns joined a convention called Save Our Sisters – an outfit floated during the protests last year – in Kottayam where Sister Anupama confirmed receiving the email. She expressed gratitude to all who supported their cause and said they would take the case to its logical end.

Just after they arrived, a group of people belonging to the Catholic Federation of India raised slogans saying the nuns were discrediting the whole community. For a while, a tense situation prevailed till the police removed the group from the spot, police said.

Last month, the head of their congregation, Missionaries of Jesus under the Jalandhar diocese, had issued transfer orders to four nuns who took part in the protest demanding Mulakkal’s arrest and asked them to join their previously assigned convents. Another nun, Sister Neena Rose, who is staying with the survivor nun, was asked to report to the Jalandhar convent on January 26. The four nuns had written to Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan seeking his intervention to ensure that their transfer orders were not effected till the trial of the case was over.

The survivor nun had also written a separate letter to the chief minister, seeking his help in the matter. “Their aim is to single me out and to harass and torture me. My life will be in danger if such a situation arises,” she said in her letter.

Last September, the protest led by the nuns and Catholic reformist forums in Kochi had led to public outrage and demands for action against Mullakkal. A senior member of the Roman Catholic clergy in India, Mulakkal was arrested following allegations by the nun that he repeatedly raped her at the Kuravilangad convent between 2014 and 2016, a charge denied by him. He was given bail after three weeks.

(With inputs from PTI)

First Published: Feb 09, 2019 23:41 IST

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