As the news of the arrest of the former bishop of Jalandhar Diocese, Franco Mulakkal, accused of raping a nun, broke on Friday, members of Punjab Christian Movement gathered outside Bishop house here in the evening and distributed candies. He was questioned for the third successive day on Friday. The development came a day after Pope Francis and the Catholic Bishop Conference of India temporarily relieved Mulakkal of his pastoral responsibilities of the Jalandhar diocese.
He has been accused by the nun of repeatedly raping and sexually assaulting her between 2014 and 2016.
At the same time, the protesting nuns expressed hope at the intervention of the Vatican and the removal of the accused priest from the charge of the diocese of Jalandhar. The police had questioned the bishop once on August 13, nearly two months after the complaint was filed but the case had been kept in cold storage after that.
He was given a reasonable time to have his say and arrested after the contradictions in the evidences given by the nun, the Bishop and others were ironed out, he said.
George, an Independent legislator, made the allegation saying that he is in possession of a photograph of the nun and the Bishop where the former can be seen in a happy and pleasant state.
The protestors also alleged that the investigators have ignored a criminal law amendment that mandates completion of probe on sexual abuse cases within two months of registering the first information report. "The Kerala high court should not give him bail on September 25", said Hamid Masih, the movement's president.
A group of Catholic nuns launched a rare street protest nearly a fortnight ago in Kochi, the state's financial hub, demanding justice for the nun. "In Punjab, a Punjabi Father must be appointed as the bishop", he said.