Reportedly, this is the first time in the Catholic church's history in Kerala that nuns have come out in protest against the church authorities and the police, who have been allegedly trying to delay the process of investigation and the resultant arrest.
On June 29, a sister of the Missionaries of Jesus reported to authorities that, from 2014 to 2016, Mulakkal raped her more than a dozen times at her convent in the southern state of Kerala. It was also pointed out that a nun, who was a witness in the case, had received threats to life, and no steps were taken by the police to afford witness protection, despite a specific request to that effect.
The agitators held placards and demanded the arrest of Bishop Franco.
The minister also said there was no pressure on the government in acting against the bishop.
The letter ends by saying that though she had filed a complaint with the police two months ago, no action was taken against the bishop due to his influence.
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In August, Indian media revealed that, prior to reporting her alleged rape to the police, the sister wrote two letters to Abp. Giambattista Diquattro, Vatican representative to India, informing him of her complaints against the bishop. "No one has a doubt that the nun is a prostitute", said George, an independent MP with a history of controversial remarks about sexual assault.
The protesters, including five fellow nuns of the rape survivor, said they would continue their agitation till action was taken against the Bishop.
But the protesting nuns rejected the charge and said they will continue their agitation till justice was delivered. "Your highness, I would like to ask: Will the Church authority - who stand to protect Bishop Franco and safeguard the dignity of the Church by hiding his wickedness - be able to give back what I have lost?" she asked in the letter. In the petition filed by Kerala Catholic Church Reformation Movement, a court directive to arrest the bishop immediately is being sought.
Copies of the letter were sent to 21 others, including the Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI) President Cardinal Oswald Gracias and Delhi Metropolitan Archbishop, Anil Couto.
Terming the allegations against him as "serious", the bishop said only three persons knew the truth.
The priest also hit out at those protesting against him.