Kochi, Sept 12: Kerala police summon Jalandhar bishop Franco Mulakkal, facing charges of raping a nun, to be present here on September 19. The notice was sent to the bishop today itself, according to Kochi range Inspector General Vijay Sakare.
He told media persons after a review meeting with DySP K Subash, heading the probe team which was very recently expanded to include two Circle Inspectors and a Sub-Inspector. The questioning was likely to happen at Ettumanoor in Kottayam district.
Protests demanding the arrest of Franco continued in Kochi and in Thiruvananthapuram. The police and the Government have been under pressure to act as support for the nun was growing and the police was delaying action was gaining popular credence.
The Government will have to give details about the progress in the probe when Kerala High Court takes up a public interest litigation filed on behalf of the Kerala Catholic Church Reformation Movement. Sakhare said there were a lot of contradictions in the testimonies of the bishop, the complainant and the witnesses. This was on case where the team had to rely on statements.
The probe team found that bishop had given false statements when he underwent a marathon nine-hour interrogation in Jalandhar on August 14. The questioning of the nun for the second time helped in resolving this, Subash said earlier.
Separately, the agitation outside the Secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram under the banner of Save our Sisters Action Council saw a good turnout and was addressed among others by former KPCC president VM Sudheeran and St Jesmie who came out of the Church a few years ago. Sudheeran felt Franco should quit the bishop’s post and surrender to the police.
In Kochi the five nuns continued to be part of the protest outside Kerala High Court where social activists were present in large numbers. The Women in Cinema Collective joined in support of the nuns and actor Rima Kallingal expressed solidarity with the nuns.
The Kerala Region Latin Catholic Council came out against the bishop and felt he should have quit earlier and blemished the Church. In a statement it said that claim of the bishop that the charges against him were actually the Church was incorrect. In question now through the deeds of the bishop were the lofty ideals of morality and legality, the statement added.