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HC seeks Kerala govt report on nun’s rape

HC seeks Kerala govt report on nun’s rape
Nuns in Kerala demanding authorites to arrest the rape accused. (file)
Kochi/New Delhi, Sep 10 (IANS) | Publish Date: 9/10/2018 12:32:12 PM IST

The Kerala High Court Monday directed the state government to inform it about the steps taken by the special investigation team of the Kerala Police probing the case of alleged rape of a nun by a Bishop of the Roman Catholic Church.

A division bench also sought to know the steps taken by the government to ensure the safety and security of the nun allegedly victimised by the Jalandhar Diocese Bishop Franco Mulakkal and her fellow nuns supporting her in her fight.

The bench, comprising Chief Justice Hrishikesh Roy and Justice A K Jayansankaran Nambiar, wanted to know whether the Bishop was questioned by the team in Jalandhar when it went there about a month ago and directed the police to inform it of the steps taken by it after that.

Considering a plea filed by George Joseph K of the Kerala Catholic Church Reformation Movement seeking a court-monitored probe into the case, the court asked why no steps have been taken to ensure the nun’s safety and security.

“Law is above all other things and it will take its own course,” the court said and posted the case to Thursday for further hearing.

In his petition, Joseph alleged that the investigation team was undergoing extreme pressure which could derail the case.

The petitioner submitted that despite the team finding substance in the victim’s claim, there was no move to push the investigation forward.

The petitioner alleged that the allegations levelled against the seniormost functionary of the Catholic Church reveals “the dark underbelly of the closed order”.

“Since the outbreak of the revelations, there have been serious efforts to undermine the investigation by threats, inducements and coercion of various witnesses as revealed from the news reports,” the petitioner submitted.

When a petition seeking speedy investigation in the case came up before the court last month, the special investigation team had submitted that as per the initial probe of the police, the bishop abused his position and repeatedly raped the nun from Kerala.

Deputy Superintendent of Police, Kottayam, K Subhash had informed the court that the investigation was proceeding effectively and impartially. After the submission by the officer, the court had disposed of the petition with a direction to the police to investigate the case properly.

NCW summons Kerala MLA for remark on nun

The National Commission for Women (NCW) on Monday took action against the Kerala MLA P.C. George who called the nun protesting against “rape” by a bishop of the Roman Catholic Church, “a prostitute”. In a letter addressed to the MLA, the Commission has asked him to appear before the women’s body before September 20.

“The Commission condemns such objectionable and derogatory statements made by a person who occupies responsible position in the society. Considering the gravity of the matter, you (Kerala MLA P.C. George) are hereby required to provide an explanation for making such statements,” the commission wrote in the letter.

In July, the nun had lodged a rape and sexual assault complaint against a bishop based in Jalandhar. The bishop reportedly used to often visit Kerala for official work, during which he allegedly raped her on several occasions. 

The case gained traction after media reported the matter and an investigation was launched under public pressure.

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